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Cervical Cancer Vaccine May Guard Against Oral Cancer

The vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes 16 and 18, marketed as Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) to prevent cervical cancer, might also protect against oropharyngeal cancer. In the Costa Rica HPV Vaccine Trial, published online July 17 in PLOS ONE, the vaccine reduced oral HPV infections in women by more than 90%. According to the researchers, this study suggests that the vaccine "affords strong protection against oral HPV 16/18 infection, with potentially important implications for prevention of increasingly common HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer." But Maura Gillison MD, PhD, professor of medicine and Jeg Coughlin Chair of Cancer Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, who was not involved in the study, cautions that more study is needed. This study provides "tantalizing preliminary evidence" that the HPV vaccine might prevent oral HPV infections that could lead to cancer, Dr. Gillison told Medscape Medical News.

Medscape Medical News