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HPV Vaccine May Reduce Risk of Severe Dysplasia

The women who received the HPV vaccine showed lower rates of severe dysplasia which can lead to cervical cancer.

New research from the University of Copenhagen has found that HPV vaccination resulted in decreased rates of severe dysplasia.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the university explored the effects of HPV vaccination in 2 groups of Danish women. According to the researchers, this study was the first to examine the effect of the HPV vaccine in a population at large. The results were published in the International Journal of Cancer.

HPV vaccination became part of the Danish vaccination schedule in 2009.

“It is the first study in the world to test the Gardasil-4 vaccine on a population level. The childhood vaccination programme, which includes the HPV vaccine, is targeted at the entire population. Therefore, it is important to look at the entire population and the effect of the vaccine after the first screening of women aged 23 years,” study author Elsebeth Lynge, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen, said in a recent statement.

In the study, the researchers examined cervical screening tests of 2 separate groups of women with similar education levels and an average age of first sexual activity. The first group consisted of women born in 1983 who did not receive the HPV vaccination and underwent their first cervical screening in 2006. The second group was comprised of women born in 1993 who were offered the Gardasil-4 vaccine at age 15 and received their first cervical screening in 2016.

The examination of the screenings revealed that the women born in 1993 had a 40% decreased risk of severe dysplasia in comparison with the women born in 1983. However, the women born in 1993 showed increased levels of mild dysplasia compared to the group born in 1983. The researchers attribute the mild dysplasia to newer technology.

“The new technology has led to fewer inadequate samples, and the samples are of a higher quality today. So, the samples are more sensitive. This may be the cause.” Lise Thamsborg, a PhD student from the Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen said in a statement.

The researchers predict that the effect will be improved in the future because girls are now offered the vaccine at age 12, which is 3 years earlier than when the 1993 group received the vaccination.

The current method of treatment in Denmark is If a woman suffers from severe dysplasia, a tissue sample is taken, which can reveal precursor lesions to cervical cancer.

Lynge and Thamsborg discussed typical treatment for mild dysplasia with Contagion® in a recent comment. “It is in the cytology diagnoses that we find an increase in the category ‘atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance’ (ASCUS). This is the lowest abnormality category,” they said. “As ASCUS will often disappear spontaneously in young women, women with ASCUS are not referred to a gynecologist, but they are referred for repeated cytology testing in 6 months, and they are referred to a gynecologist only if they have an abnormal cytology also the second time.”

According to researchers, the next step is to examine the tissue samples taken from women with dysplasia, with the intention of learning if it is possible to determine how causes of mild and severe dysplasia have developed.