A research paper published in The Lancet Oncology showed that a single dose of the human papillomavirus vaccine Cervarix® may prevent HPV-related cervical cancer.

The paper presented data from two clinical trials, one sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the other sponsored by GlaxoSmith Kline. Cervarix® is a bi-valent HPV vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline and licensed in the United States.

The research showed that Cervarix® protected women against the two types of HPV that cause about 75 percent of all cervical cancers whether they received one, two or three doses. The data also showed that the vaccine may protect against other types of HPV if only two doses are given six months apart. The current interval between doses is two months.


Cervical cancer causes the most cancer deaths among women worldwide. About 50 percent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV type 16; HPV type 18 causes another 15 to 25 percent. Cervarix® protects against these two types of HPV but may not protect against other types of HPV or against other causes of cervical cancer.

HPV vaccines are currently approved to be given in the United States as a three-dose series over a six-month period. Women in many parts of the world are not be able to get all three doses of the vaccine. A vaccine given in a single protective dose could be a major health care advance in preventing cervical cancer worldwide.


The authors of the paper include Cosette Wheeler, PhD, an international expert in human papillomavirus diagnostics and epidemiology, health informatics and cervical cancer prevention. Wheeler is a Regents Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. She is also The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Chair in Translational Medicine and Public Health Sciences and serves as the Special Populations Staff Investigator at the UNM Cancer Center.


The paper was published in the June 8, 2015, online edition of the The Lancet Oncology (www.thelancet.com/oncology).

The abstract is available at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(15)70199-3/abstract

The National Cancer Institute and The Lancet Oncology each published a press release about the paper.

About the UNM Cancer Center

The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in the state. One of just 68 premier NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence; contributions to cancer research; delivery of high quality, state of the art cancer diagnosis and treatment to all New Mexicans; and its community outreach programs statewide. Annual federal and private funding of more than $72 million supports the UNM Cancer Center’s research programs. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 60 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. It is home to New Mexico’s largest team of board-certified oncology physicians and research scientists, representing every cancer specialty and hailing from prestigious institutions such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic. Through its partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, the UNM Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to the southern part of the state; its collaborative clinical programs in Santa Fe and Farmington serve northern New Mexico and it is developing new collaborative programs in Alamogordo and in Roswell/Carlsbad. The UNM Cancer Center also supports several community outreach programs to make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment available to every New Mexican. Learn more at www.cancer.unm.edu.

Journal Link: The Lancet Oncology, June 8, 2015 online edition