Prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines are highly effective. The available evidence suggests that neutralising antibody is the mechanism of protection. However, despite the robust humoral response elicited by VLP vaccines, there is no immune correlate, no minimum level of antibody, or any other immune parameter, that predicts protection against infection or disease. The durability of the antibody response and the importance of antibody isotype, affinity and avidity for vaccine effectiveness are discussed. Once infection and disease are established, then cellular immune responses are essential to kill infected cells. These are complex processes and understanding the local mucosal immune response is a prerequisite for the rational design of therapeutic HPV vaccines. This article forms part of a special supplement entitled "Comprehensive Control of HPV Infections and Related Diseases" Vaccine Volume 30, Supplement 5, 2012.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.