Though anal cancer is less common than other forms of the disease in the United States, the number of cases has increased in recent years, and is particularly common among men who have sex with men and HIV-infected individuals.
Anal cancer is caused by infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), the most common sexually-transmitted pathogen in the United States. The virus also causes cervical cancer in women, and the vaccine is already approved and routinely recommended to prevent this condition. The new clinical trial suggests that the same vaccine would also protect men, and likely women, against anal cancer.
In the 1990's, UCSF established the Anal Neoplasia Clinic at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the world's first clinic devoted to promoting research, awareness, screening and prevention of anal cancer. UCSF professor Joel Palefsky, MD, FRCPC, who founded and directs the clinic, led the clinical trial, and has recently founded a new professional society devoted to the study of the disease.
"Almost six thousand people every year in this country are diagnosed with anal cancer, and more than 700 people die from the disease," said Palefsky. "What this trial showed is that those cancers and deaths could be prevented."
The trial involved a group of 602 men who have sex with men from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Spain and the United States all of whom had at least one, but no more than five, sexual encounters and who were between the ages of 16-26 years. All were randomized into groups that either received a placebo or a three-shot injection of the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against HPV 16 and 18, the most common HPV types involved in anal cancer, and HPV 6 and 11, the most common types in anogenital warts. The patients were enrolled in the trial from 2006-2008, and they were followed for three years after their last shot.
As described in the paper, the vaccine proved effective at reducing anal infections with HPV and precancerous lesions known as high-grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia, which are anal cancer precursors. The trial showed that the vaccine reduced the incidence of these cancer precursors by nearly 75 percent among those who had not been previously exposed to any of the HPV types in the vaccine. Among those who were previously exposed to one or more of the types in the vaccine, the vaccine reduced the incidence of the precancerous lesions by 54 percent.
"Based on these data, the vaccine works well to prevent HPV infection and precancerous anal disease, and will likely prevent anal cancer in men," said Palefsky. "The ideal time to begin vaccination would be before initiation of sexual activity, but vaccination may also be useful after initiation of sexual activity."
An earlier study led by Palefsky's coauthor Anna Guiliano at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, FL showed that the HPV vaccine effectively protects both heterosexual men and men who have sex with men against external genital warts. The new study adds to the body of evidence supporting routine HPV vaccination of young males, said Palefsky.
This week, a group known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is convened by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, met in Washington, D.C. to consider how it recommends HPV vaccine for men.
On Tuesday, the ACIP group voted to change their policy on the vaccine, which they previously "recommended," which means that it was approved and available to people if they want it. Individuals could order it, but it would have been up to insurance companies if they wanted to reimburse for the vaccine or not.
After weighing the clinical evidence, including the data presented in the New England Journal of Medicine paper this week, ACIP voted to make HPV vaccinations "routine" for boys up to the age of 21 years. This means the vaccine will be placed on routine schedule of vaccines and insurance companies will be obligated to cover it.
The study was funded by Merck and Co.
The article, "HPV Vaccine against Anal HPV Infection and Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia" by Joel M. Palefsky, Anna R. Giuliano, Stephen Goldstone, Edson D. Moreira, Jr., Carlos Aranda, Heiko Jessen, Richard Hillman, Daron Ferris, Francois Coutlee, Mark H. Stoler, J. Brooke Marshall, David Radley, Scott Vuocolo, Richard M. Haupt, Dalya Guris, and Elizabeth I.O. Garner appears in the Oct. 27, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
In addition to UCSF, authors on the study are affiliated with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, FL; Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York; AssociaçaÞo Obras Sociais IrmaÞ Dulce and Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Health, Bahia, Brazil; the University Medical Center, National Public Health Institute, Morelos, Mexico; J2: Private Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Berlin Germany; the University of Sydney in Australia; the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia; the Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Universiteì de Montreìal, in Montreal, Canada; the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA; and Merck, located in North Wales, PA.
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.
UCSF Anal Cancer Information site: http://id.medicine.ucsf.edu/analcancerinfo/Related News Story:
Joel Palefsky | EurekAlert!
Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications
Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine