Private London Gynaecologist explains men’s role in cervical cancer

Pharma Times reports that FDA staff like the look of Cervarix, as well as Gardasil for men. The piece says that as GlaxoSmithKline gets ready for a review of Cervarix by advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration, agency staff have said the cervical cancer vaccine has a favourable risk/benefit profile.

Consultant Gynaecologist Adeola Olaitan comments:

Thirty years after the discovery that human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer, fifteen years after the start of vaccine development and two years after the approval of the four-type (6,11,16,18) HPV vaccine Gardasil®, vaccination to prevent cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases has been widely implemented.  Merck, the company that manufactures the vaccine is now seeking approval for the vaccine to be used in boys.

While the vaccine’s efficacy in women has been well established — with data showing up to 100% protection against HPV — studies of the vaccine’s use in men are just starting to appear. Initial data suggests that the vaccine is generally well tolerated in 9- to 26-year-old males.

Genital human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection.  There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the skin of the penis, vulva, and anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts (6,11 – ‘low risk’) are not the same as the types that can cause cancer (16,18- ‘high risk’) but Gardasil prevents both low risk and high risk viruses.

Genital warts are a very infectious agent and transmission of the virus is very common. If a couple has unprotected sexual activities for years and one happens to be infected with genital warts, there’s a 75 percent chance of transmitting the virus to his/her partner.

Thus, vaccinating both men and women would reduce the prevalence of the virus that can be transmitted with hopes that there will be a benefit not only to men themselves but also their partners. .

While the potential benefits are encouraging, efficacy and safety must be considered in the approval of this vaccine in men.

The external opening of the back passage, the rectum. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
Relating either to the cervix (the neck of the womb) or to the cervical vertebrae in the neck (cervical spine). Full medical glossary
Any neck-like structure; most commonly refers to the neck of the uterus. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
An abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers. Full medical glossary
Invasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites. Full medical glossary
A non-cancerous growth that resembles a wart. Full medical glossary
per vaginam Full medical glossary
The last part of the large intestine, where faeces are stored before being passed. Full medical glossary
The means of producing immunity by stimulating the formation of antibodies. Full medical glossary
The muscula passage, forming part of the femal reproductive system, between the cervix and the external genitalia. Full medical glossary
A microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells. Full medical glossary
Microbes that are only able to multiply within living cells. Full medical glossary
The external part of the female genitalia. Full medical glossary
A common, contagious, harmless growth that occurs on the skin or mucous membranes. Only the topmost layer of skin is affected. Full medical glossary