Background: Prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have to provide sustained protection. We assessed efficacy, immunogenicity, and safety of the HPV-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine up to 6.4 years.
Methods: Women aged 15-25 years, with normal cervical cytology, who were HPV-16/18 seronegative and oncogenic HPV DNA-negative (14 types) at screening participated in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled initial study (n=1113; 560 vaccine group vs 553 placebo group) and follow-up study (n=776; 393 vs 383). 27 sites in three countries participated in the follow-up study. Cervical samples were tested every 6 months for HPV DNA. Management of abnormal cytologies was prespecified, and HPV-16/18 antibody titres were assessed. The primary objective was to assess long-term vaccine efficacy in the prevention of incident cervical infection with HPV 16 or HPV 18, or both. We report the analyses up to 6.4 years of this follow-up study and combined with the initial study. For the primary endpoint, the efficacy analysis was done in the according-to-protocol (ATP) cohort; the analysis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 and above (CIN2+) was done in the total vaccinated cohort (TVC). The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00120848.
Findings: For the combined analysis of the initial and follow-up studies, the ATP efficacy cohort included 465 women in the vaccine group and 454 in the placebo group; the TVC included 560 women in the vaccine group and 553 in the placebo group. Vaccine efficacy against incident infection with HPV 16/18 was 95.3% (95% CI 87.4-98.7) and against 12-month persistent infection was 100% (81.8-100). Vaccine efficacy against CIN2+ was 100% (51.3-100) for lesions associated with HPV-16/18 and 71.9% (20.6-91.9) for lesions independent of HPV DNA. Antibody concentrations by ELISA remained 12-fold or more higher than after natural infection (both antigens). Safety outcomes were similar between groups: during the follow-up study, 30 (8%) participants reported a serious adverse event in the vaccine group versus 37 (10%) in the placebo group. None was judged related or possibly related to vaccination, and no deaths occurred.
Interpretation: Our findings show excellent long-term efficacy, high and sustained immunogenicity, and favourable safety of the HPV-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine up to 6.4 years.
Funding: GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (Belgium).