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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 7(3)

Global reduction of cervical cancer with human papillomavirus vaccines: insights from the hepatitis B virus vaccine experience

Margaret E. Heffernan A B F, Suzanne M. Garland A C D, Mark A. Kane E

A Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia.
B School of Management, RMIT University, Level 16, 239 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.
C Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.
D Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Vic. 3052, Australia.
E Consultant, Mercer Island, Seattle, WA 98040, USA.
F Corresponding author. Email: margaret.heffernan@rmit.edu.au
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Background: Worldwide, prophylactic vaccines against two major human cancers are now commercially available: hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccines (first licensed in 1982) against primary hepatocellular carcinoma and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines (first licensed 2006) against cervical cancer. Initial implementation strategies for HBV vaccination were not successful in preventing disease in the community: it took 15 years for significant global reduction in the burden of this disease. Methods: We compare and contrast HBV vaccine experiences to challenges for successful global HPV vaccination strategies, and make recommendations accordingly. Results: Lessons from HBV immunisation for successful outcomes with HPV immunisation showed that several factors need to be met: (i) the engagement of key stakeholders in all aspects of planning and delivery of HPV vaccine strategies; (ii) understanding the specific characteristics of targeted population groups; (iii) global cooperation and support with WHO recommendations; (iv) Government supported mass immunization programs and cooperation between public and private entities; (v) affordable HPV vaccines for some regions; (vi) culturally appropriate and diverse public education programs in targeted health promotion strategies; (vii) pro-active health providers and parents in encouraging adolescents to undertake HPV vaccination; and (vii) eventual immunisation of infants. Conclusions: The key to success will be affordable, readily deliverable HPV vaccines to young girls as universal campaigns.

Keywords: hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, prophylactic vaccines.

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