June 16, 2009 — The quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine may be effective in women aged 24 to 45 years who are not infected with the relevant HPV types at enrollment, according to the results of an ongoing multicenter, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial reported in the June 2 Online First issue of The Lancet.
"Although the peak incidence of...HPV infection occurs in most populations within 5-10 years of first sexual experience, all women remain at risk for acquisition of HPV infections," write Nubia Muñoz, MD, from the National Institute of Cancer in Bogotá, Colombia, and colleagues. "We tested the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the quadrivalent HPV (types 6, 11, 16, 18) L1 virus-like-particle vaccine in women aged 24-45 years."
The prevention of HPV infection and related disease has undergone a major change in the last several years with the introduction of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine. This vaccine is currently indicated for girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26 years, which makes sense as a preventive strategy because most women in the United States acquire HPV infection between the ages of 15 and 25 years. The vaccine has been demonstrated to reduce the risks for HPV infection and cervical dysplasia among younger women.
There is evidence that the risk of acquiring HPV in the third or fourth decade of life is increasing, although there are limited data regarding the use of the HPV quadrivalent vaccine in this population. The current study addresses this issue.
- Currently, the quadrivalent HPV vaccine is indicated for girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26 years.
- The quadrivalent HPV vaccine was effective in the current study in the prevention of HPV infection and genital/cervical disease among women between the ages of 24 and 45 years, particularly among women not infected with the relevant HPV types at the time of treatment.