Efficacy and safety of prophylactic vaccines against cervical HPV infection and diseases among women: a systematic review & meta-analysis

BMC Infect Dis. 2011 Jan 12;11:13. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-11-13.


Background: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess efficacy and safety of prophylactic HPV vaccines against cervical cancer precursor events in women.

Methods: Randomized-controlled trials of HPV vaccines were identified from MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, conference abstracts and references of identified studies, and assessed by two independent reviewers. Efficacy data were synthesized using fixed-effect models, and evaluated for heterogeneity using I2 statistic.

Results: Seven unique trials enrolling 44,142 females were included. The fixed-effect Relative Risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals were 0.04 (0.01-0.11) and 0.10 (0.03-0.38) for HPV-16 and HPV 18-related CIN2+ in the per-protocol populations (PPP). The corresponding RR was 0.47 (0.36-0.61) and 0.16 (0.08-0.34) in the intention-to-treat populations (ITT). Efficacy against CIN1+ was similar in scale in favor of vaccine. Overall vaccines were highly efficacious against 6-month persistent infection with HPV 16 and 18, both in the PPP cohort (RR: 0.06 [0.04-0.09] and 0.05 [0.03-0.09], respectively), and the ITT cohorts (RR: 0.15 [0.10-0.23] and 0.24 [0.14-0.42], respectively). There was limited prophylactic effect against CIN2+ and 6-month persistent infections associated with non-vaccine oncogenic HPV types. The risk of serious adverse events (RR: 1.00, 0.91-1.09) or vaccine-related serious adverse events (RR: 1.82; 0.79-4.20) did not differ significantly between vaccine and control groups. Data on abnormal pregnancy outcomes were underreported.

Conclusions: Prophylactic HPV vaccines are safe, well tolerated, and highly efficacious in preventing persistent infections and cervical diseases associated with vaccine-HPV types among young females. However, long-term efficacy and safety needs to be addressed in future trials.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Papillomaviridae / physiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines