Purpose of review: Studies of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil provide strong evidence for the recommendation that HPV vaccines may minimize the incidence of cervical cancer over time.
Recent findings: Both Cervarix and Gardasil provided more than 90% efficacy in preventing cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+ (CIN 2+) disease caused by HPV 16 and 18 in women 16–26 years who were seronegative and PCR-negative for HPV 16 and 18 at baseline. Cervarix provides more than 75% efficacy in independent cross-protection against persistent HPV 31 and 45, and 47% efficacy against HPV 33; whereas Gardasil offers 50% efficacy only against persistent HPV 31. A reduction in excisional therapies for CIN 2+ is nearly 70% for Cervarix, and 40% for Gardasil. Cervarix efficacy is documented to 6.4 years; Gardasil's to 5 years. Immunologically, Cervarix induces three to nine-fold higher peak-neutralizing antibody titers to HPV 16/18 than Gardasil, has significantly higher cervicovaginal mucus-neutralizing antibody presence than Gardasil, and significantly higher B memory cell response than Gardasil. Safety reports indicate injection site reactions for both Cervarix and Gardasil. Rare serious adverse events have been reported.
Summary: The benefits and risks of vaccination must be weighed with the benefits and risks of screening to reduce cervical cancer in a cost-effective manner.