We evaluated a study setting for assessment of the long-term vaccine efficacy (VE) of human papillomavirus (HPV) virus-like-particle (VLP) vaccine against cervical carcinoma. A total of 22,412 16- to 17-year old adolescent women from seven cities in Finland were invited by letter to participate in a phase III study of a quadrivalent HPV (types 6, 11, 16, 18) VLP vaccine, between September 2002 and March 2003. A total of 30,947 18-year old women were invited to participate as unvaccinated controls. These women were asked about their willingness to participate in an HPV vaccination trial and to fill a health questionnaire. These three population-based cohorts of adolescent women, including women vaccinated with HPV vaccine or placebo vaccine and unvaccinated control women, are systematically followed over time. The study cohort database will be linked with the Finnish Cancer Registry using cervical carcinoma in situ (CIS) and invasive cervical carcinoma (ICC) as endpoints. Assuming that the cumulative incidence of CIS and ICC over 15 years is 0.45%, and that there is no loss to follow-up, and power of 80%, the determination of 70% total VE will require 3357 HPV vaccine recipients, 3357 placebo vaccine recipients, and 6714 unvaccinated controls. At the baseline, 2632 (12%) of the invited adolescents volunteered to the phase III vaccination trial, and 6790 (22%) responded to the questionnaire study. During a recruitment period of 10 months, 874 HPV vaccine recipients, 875 placebo recipients and 1919 unvaccinated controls were enrolled. Population-based enrollment of large cohorts of vaccinated and unvaccinated adolescents for passive registry-based follow-up with cervical carcinoma as the end-point is feasible and currently going on in Finland.