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HPV vaccine can prevent most anal cancers
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Published: 11 years ago

HPV vaccine can prevent most anal cancers

This has implications far beyond gay men.  If you do a little research
and learn how many heterosexual couples engage in anal sex you will discover
that it is somewhere around 30%.  The younger the couple, the higher the probability. 
With gay men somewhere around 3% of the population (that number jumps all over
the place depending on who you believe - and not all practice anal sex) you can
see that in total numbers there are many times (about 10 times) the number of
heterosexual couples engaging in anal sex than gay men. 

This study was done world wide and was not done by a pharmaceutical.

HPV vaccine can prevent most anal cancers: study

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WASHINGTON — A vaccine against the sexually transmitted disease HPV, which
can cause cervical cancer in women, has also been shown to prevent most anal
cancers in gay men, an international study said Wednesday.

Men who were vaccinated against human papillomavirus developed 75 percent
fewer anal lesions that lead to cancer than their counterparts who were given a
placebo, said the study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings were released one day after a US advisory panel urged the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend routine vaccinations for
boys age 11-12 against HPV.

The disease infects at least half of all sexually active adults and can cause
genital warts, but often people with HPV show no symptoms at all.

If caught early, the lesions caused by four particularly virulent strains of
the virus can often be removed, preventing cancer from forming. But experts say
vaccinating against it before people start to have sex is crucial.

There are nearly 6,000 cases of anal cancer diagnosed annually in the United
States, and close to 800 deaths, according to US government health statistics.

“What this trial showed is that those cancers and deaths could be
prevented,” said lead author Joel Palefsky, a professor at University of
California San Francisco and director of UCSF’s Anal Neoplasia Clinic.

A total of 602 sexually active gay men aged 16-26 from Australia, Brazil,
Canada, Croatia, Germany, Spain and the United States were included in the

Those in the study, which was funded by Merck, had had at least one but no
more than five sexua| encounters. They were randomly assigned either a placebo
or a three-shot injection of Gardasil, a Merck-made vaccine.

Gardasil is the only vaccine on the market to prevent against HPV 6, 11, 16
and 18 in boys and girls. A vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline, called Cervarix, is
approved for use in girls against HPV types 16 and 18.

The trial ran from 2006 to 2008 and included three years of follow-up, after
which those who had never been exposed to HPV showed a 75 percent lower rate of
anal HPV infections and precancerous anal lesions.

Those exposed to one or more of the HPV types that Gardasil aims to prevent
saw 54 percent fewer lesions than those who were not given the vaccine.

“Based on these data, the vaccine works well to prevent HPV infection and
precancerous anal disease, and will likely prevent anal cancer in men,” said

“The ideal time to begin vaccination would be before initiation of sexual
activity, but vaccination may also be useful after initiation of sexual

A majority of HIV-positive men in the United States are also infected with
HPV, and anal cancer incidence is rising in both men and women, Palefsky said.

There are about nine new cases of cervical cancer per 100,000 women each year
in the US, compared to about 100 new cases of anal cancer in HIV-positive men
per 100,000 individuals.

HPV is linked to almost 13,000 cases of cervical cancer yearly in US women,
4,300 of which are fatal, and is also suspected to be linked to a rise in head
and neck cancers due to its transmission during oral sex.

Merck’s Gardasil was approved for girls and women from age nine to 26 in
June 2006 and for males in the same age range in October 2009.
GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine, Cervarix, was approved in 2009 for women aged

On Tuesday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices called
for the HPV vaccine to be administered routinely to boys and men age nine to 21
before they start having sex.

The CDC is expected to accept the recommendation and issue a formal
announcement within two months.

Michael Gaisa, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious
Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said the UCSF study’s
finding were in line with what other researchers were discovering.

He also noted that the vaccine is showing some benefits for people who have
already been exposed to HPV.

“HPV vaccination, while most effective when given before the onset of
sexual activity, reduces recurrence rates of anogenital warts and precancerous
lesions in patients who have had clinically evident disease caused by
preexisting infection with one or more HPV subtypes,” said Gaisa, who was not
involved in the study.



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