Study: HPV Vaccine, Surgery May Prevent Return of Cervical Lesions


Receiving a human papillomavirus vaccine and local surgical treatment could reduce the risk of recurring cervical lesions by 57%.

Getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine around the time of a surgery for removing precancerous cervical lessons could reduce a woman’s risk of recurrent lesions or other HPV-related diseases.1

Since 2008, the HPV vaccination has been given to children in the UK who are 13 and 14 years of age, which will protect against cervical cancer and other related cancers.2 However, new research from the UK suggests that an HPV vaccine alongside cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) treatment could reduce the risk of cervical cancer for women with CIN.2

“HPV vaccination is highly effective at preventing the development of precancerous cervical lesions,” wrote the researchers in an article published in BMJ.2

With CIN, cervical cells become abnormally changed, and these changes can develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.2 CIN has 3 grades, from highest to lowest: CIN1, CIN2, and CIN3. Women who have higher grade CIN also have a higher risk of cervical cancer and HPV-related conditions.1

Researchers analyzed 18 studies to assess the risk of HPV infection or recurrent lesions (related to HPV infection after surgery) and the HPV vaccination. Of the 18 studies, 12 were observational, 4 post hoc analyses of randomized control trials (RCTs), and 2 RCTs, the latter of which were classified as having a low risk of bias. However, the observational and post hoc analyses had a mix of moderate, serious, and critical risk of biases.1

Based on the data, the investigators observed that vaccinated individuals had a 57% lower risk of recurrent high grade preinvasive disease (CIN2+) compared to unvaccinated individuals. The decrease grew to 74% when the disease was related to HPV16 and HPV18, which are 2 high-risk HPV types associated with most cervical cancers. Patients also reduced their risk of recurrent higher grade CIN3 if they were vaccinated, but the evidence may not be fully qualified by scientists.1

“We are pleased to see emerging research into the value of using the HPV vaccine to prevent the recurrence of cervical cell changes, and look forward to seeing further large-scale studies into the effectiveness of this method,” Eluned Hughes, head of information and engagement at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said in a press release.2

The study was limited for many reasons, one being its observational nature. Additionally, aspects of the study were low quality, the follow-up time was short, and long-term effects are still unclear.1

Additionally, there was not enough evidence to report conclusive findings, according to the authors.2 More high-quality randomized trials could establish the cost of the vaccine and effectiveness for women, the investigators explained.1

“This study looked at whether the HPV vaccine can stop further cell changes happening after people have had treatment to remove abnormal cells caused by HPV infection,” Alice Davies, a health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said in the press release. “But it’s still too early to say if using the vaccine in this way is beneficial, and larger high-quality studies and trials are needed.”2


  1. HPV vaccination alongside surgical treatment for cervical lesions may reduce risk of further disease. BMJ; Aug 3, 2022. Accessed Aug 2, 2022.
  2. Campbell, Denis. HPV vaccine after removal of precancerous cells may cut cervical cancer risk.The Guardian. Aug 3, 2022. Accessed Aug 4, 2022.
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