HPV Vaccine Could Reduce Cancer Risk in All Races

HPV vaccine found effective in reducing related cancers across all races and ethnic groups.

A recent study found that a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can reduce the risk of HPV-related cancers across all races and ethnic groups.

Since 2006, the HPV vaccine has been recommended for both young men and women to reduce the risk of HPV-related cancers, such as cervical, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers.

Researchers used mathematical modeling in order to project the impact of different HPV vaccine coverage scenarios in regards to 6 different HPV-associated cancers among different racial and ethnic groups, according to a study published in Cancer.

Current cancer incidence rates, survival probabilities, proportion of cancers due to HPV, and current vaccination rates were all taken into account. The researchers found that absolute burden of cancer and disparities decreased with current or improved vaccination coverage, but relative disparities can still occur in some cases.

Increased immunization with the 9-valent vaccine caused death associated with HPV-related cancers to decrease by 60% among men, however, the estimated decrease was greater in some racial and ethnic groups.

The researchers said that HPV causes only a small percent of oropharyngeal cancers in black males compared with white males. Due to this difference, the vaccination would not have as much of an impact on the entire group.

"Our findings show that vaccination can lead to a dramatic decrease in HPV-associated cancer in all racial and ethnic groups, but HPV vaccination alone will not eliminate existing HPV-associated cancer disparities,” concluded senior author Jane Kim, PhD, MSc. “Efforts to improve HPV vaccination uptake in the US must also be accompanied by efforts to minimize differences in access to screening for cervical cancer and access to timely diagnoses and treatment for all HPV-associated cancers.”