New studies are finding that HPV vaccines are good for more than just preventing cervical cancer, reports the [email protected] blog's Mike Mitka — the injections also seem to reduce the risk of anal infection by HPV, which are associated with the development of anal cancer. Although it is relatively rare, rates of anal cancer have roughly doubled in recent decades in many countries, including the US, Mitka says. The HPV vaccine protect HPV types 16 and 18, which are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer, but recent research has shown that up to 80 percent of HPV-associated anal cancers are also caused by these HPV strains. In one paper published in Lancet Oncology online, an international team of researchers undertook a study of 4,210 Costa Rican women who were randomized to receive either an HPV vaccine or a hepatitis A vaccine, Mitka reports. Four years after vaccination, anal infection by HPV was reduced by 62 percent in the women who had received the HPV vaccine, compared with the hepatitis vaccine control group. The researchers say it will be important to see if the vaccine's protection lasts beyond the four years assessed in the study, as well.
Not Just for Cervical Health
Aug 25, 2011