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Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for the prevention of HPV 16/18 induced cervical cancer and its precursors

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Introduction: Essential precondition for the development of cervical cancer is a persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The majority - approximately 70% - of cervical carcinomas is caused by two high-risk HPV types (16 and 18). Recently, two vaccines have been approved to the German market with the potential to induce protection against HPV 16 and HPV 18 among additional low-risk virus types. Objectives: To analyse whether HPV vaccination is effective with regard to the reduction of cervical cancer and precursors of cervical carcinoma (CIN), respectively? Does HPV vaccination represent a cost-effective alternative or supplement to present screening practice? Are there any differences concerning cost-effectiveness between the two available vaccines? Should HPV vaccination be recommended from a health economic point of view? If so, which recommendations can be conveyed with respect to a (re)organization of the German vaccination strategy? Which ethical, social and legal implications have to be considered? Methods: Based on a systematic literature review, randomized controlled trials (RCT) looking at the effectiveness of HPV vaccination for the prevention of cervical carcinoma and its precursors - cervical intraepithelial neoplasia - have been identified. In addition, health economic models were identified to address the health economic research questions. Quality assessment of medical and economic literature was assured by application of general assessment standards for the systematic and critical appraisal of scientific studies. Results: Vaccine efficacy in prevention of CIN 2 or higher lesions in HPV 16 or HPV 18 negative women, who received all vaccination doses, ranges between 98% and 100%. Side effects of the vaccination are mainly associated with injection site reactions (redness, turgor, pain). No significant differences concerning serious complications between the vaccination- and the placebo-groups were reported. Results of base case scenarios in the identified health economic modeling analyses range from approximately 3,000 Euro to 40,000 Euro per additional QALY (QALY = Quality-adjusted life year) and approximately 9,000 Euro to 65,000 Euro per additional life year (LYG), respectively. Discussion: The included studies show that both available HPV vaccines are effective in preventing HPV 16 and HPV 18 infections and probable resulting premalignant lesions of the cervix. However, the duration of protection is currently unclear. With regard to side effects, the vaccination can be considered as secure. Nevertheless, the number of cases wit


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