3, 2, 1… Might one dose of HPV vaccine be enough to prevent HPV-associated cancer?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a prerequisite for the development of cervical cancer. Screening for cervical cancer after HPV infection is possible by cervical smear testing, and since 2006 direct prevention of HPV infection has been available in the form of three different vaccines.

These vaccines need two or three doses, and protect against the most common types of cancer-causing HPV. Unfortunately, at this moment globally, women at the highest risk for cervical cancer are not reached by any of these prevention measures. Barriers to vaccine implementation and achieving higher uptake include high costs and lack of the infrastructure required for administering multiple vaccine doses.

Some studies have suggested sufficient and sustained protection against HPV infections occurs after just one dose of the vaccine. Evaluation of one dose of the HPV vaccine is complicated, since it is unknown how and at what level immune responses guarantee protection against infections.

With this study, Dr. Donken aims to measure the effectiveness of single dose vaccination in a real-world setting and to explore whether antibodies are boosted after exposure to HPV in vaccinated women, potentially reducing barriers to vaccine implementation and improving vaccine uptake among those at a high risk for cervical cancer.