Background: HPV is related to a number of cancer types, causing a considerable burden in both genders in Europe. Female vaccination programs can substantially reduce the incidence of HPV-related diseases in women and, to some extent, men through herd immunity. The objective was to estimate the incremental benefit of vaccinating boys and girls using the quadrivalent HPV vaccine in Europe versus girls-only vaccination. Incremental benefits in terms of reduction in the incidence of HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18-related diseases (including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and head and neck carcinomas and genital warts) were assessed.
Methods: The analysis was performed using a model constructed in Microsoft(®)Excel, based on a previously-published dynamic transmission model of HPV vaccination and published European epidemiological data on incidence of HPV-related diseases. The incremental benefits of vaccinating 12-year old girls and boys versus girls-only vaccination was assessed (70% vaccine coverage were assumed for both). Sensitivity analyses around vaccine coverage and duration of protection were performed.
Results: Compared with screening alone, girls-only vaccination led to 84% reduction in HPV 16/18-related carcinomas in females and a 61% reduction in males. Vaccination of girls and boys led to a 90% reduction in HPV 16/18-related carcinomas in females and 86% reduction in males versus screening alone. Relative to a girls-only program, vaccination of girls and boys led to a reduction in female and male HPV-related carcinomas of 40% and 65%, respectively and a reduction in the incidence of HPV 6/11-related genital warts of 58% for females and 71% for males versus girls-only vaccination.
Conclusions: In Europe, the vaccination of 12-year old boys and girls against HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 would be associated with substantial additional clinical benefits in terms of reduced incidence of HPV-related genital warts and carcinomas versus girls-only vaccination. The incremental benefits of adding boys vaccination are highly dependent on coverage in girls. Therefore, further analyses should be performed taking into account the country-specific situation. In addition to clinical benefits, substantial economic benefits are also anticipated and warrant further investigation as do the social and ethical implications of including boys in vaccination programs.