Cervical cancer, which is caused by oncogenic types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), is the second most common cancer in women, responsible for 274,000 deaths worldwide in 2002. Approximately 70% of all cervical cancers are caused by the two most common oncogenic HPV types, HPV-16 and HPV-18; another 10% are caused by the next most common types, HPV-45 and HPV-31. Therefore, vaccines designed to prevent infection with oncogenic HPV types have the potential to decrease morbidity and mortality associated with cervical cancer and precancerous lesions. Vaccinology research recently has developed tools that may be used to improve the safety and efficacy of vaccines, and several of these tools have been used in the development of HPV vaccines. These advances include new insight into antigen selection, inclusion of adjuvants designed to enhance the immunogenicity of vaccines, and investigation into alternative routes of administration. Clinical studies of HPV vaccines that take advantage of these technological advances have reported excellent safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy results for prevention of HPV infection and incidence of associated cytopathologic abnormalities.
Vaccinology research recently has developed tools to improve the safety and efficacy of vaccines, and several of these tools are being used in human papillomavirus vaccines.
From the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
Corresponding author: Warner K. Huh, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 619 19th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35249; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Disclosure: Dr. Huh receives research support/grants from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, Philadelphia, PA) and Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ). Furthermore, he serves on an advisory board for GSK and is a speaker for Merck. The other authors do not have any conflicts of interest.