Strategies for HPV prevention

Virus Res. 2002 Nov;89(2):285-93. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1702(02)00197-1.


The HPV types that cause cervical cancer are sexually transmitted, but there is little evidence that infection can be avoided by behavioral change, such as condom use. In contrast, prophylactic vaccines against HPV infection are likely to have high efficacy. In principle, the effectiveness of HPV vaccination as a strategy for cervical cancer control can be measured either by monitoring secular trends in cervical cancer incidence or by conducting randomized trials. The former approach is unlikely to provide convincing evidence of effectiveness, since cervical cancer rates are subject to strong secular trends that are independent of intervention measures. A few phase III trials of HPV prophylactic vaccines are being started. Such trials are very expensive studies involving frequent and complicated investigations. It is important, however, to start as soon as possible simpler trials which may demonstrate the effectiveness of HPV vaccine in field conditions, i.e. in developing countries which do not have the resources to mount effective cytology-based screening programs, yet suffer the major burden of mortality from cervical cancer. Such trials may capture a difference in the most severe, and rarest, preinvasive cervical lesions. The design of such studies is briefly considered for two areas: Southern India and South Korea. Finally, projections of the number of cases of cervical cancer following the introduction of mass vaccination are given for developed and developing countries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Tumor Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Tumor Virus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Viral Vaccines*


  • Viral Vaccines