Scimex: Canadian researchers have found that vaccinating 12-year-old boys against the humanpapilloma virus (HPV) could be a cost-effective strategy for preventing a particular type of oral cancer that is increasing in the western world. The researchers applied a statistical model to a group of 192,940 Canadian boys who were 12 years old in 2012 in order to predict their health outcomes, and found that vaccinating the boys against HPV could result in millions of dollars of savings over their lifetimes.
A new study indicates that vaccinating 12-year-old boys against the
humanpapilloma virus (HPV) may be a cost-effective strategy for
preventing oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer, a cancer that starts at
the back of the throat and mouth, and involves the tonsils and base of
the tongue. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of
the American Cancer Society, the study provides important information
about HPV vaccination, which has proven effective against HPV-related
disease in both sexes but remains controversial, especially in males.
Many western countries have established female HPV vaccination programs
for preventing cervical cancer. Little is known about the
cost-effectiveness of male-HPV vaccination, however. Donna Graham, MB,
BCh, MRCPUK and Lillian Siu, MD, FRCPC, of the Princess Margaret Cancer
Centre, University Health Network, in Toronto, led a team that compared
the potential costs and effectiveness of vaccinating adolescent boys in
Canada against HPV for preventing HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. When
the investigators applied a statistical model to a population of
192,940 Canadian boys who were 12 years old in 2012, they found that HPV
vaccination could save from $8 million to $28 million Canadian dollars
over the boys' lifetimes. Factors that could impact the cost savings of
HPV vaccination in boys include, among others, vaccine cost, vaccine
effectiveness, costs of cancer treatment, and survival of patients with
HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers.
"We believe this study is important because HPV-related oropharyngeal
cancer has increased significantly in incidence, especially in developed
countries," said Dr. Graham. "It is projected that by 2020, HPV-related
oropharyngeal cancer will become the most common HPV-related cancer in
the US, surpassing cervical cancer."
Policy makers in many countries such as the United States, Canada,
Austria, and Australia have recommended HPV vaccination in boys, but it
is unfunded and is excluded from national immunization programs in many
countries worldwide, notes Dr. Siu. "We hope that results from this
study would raise awareness and lead to further assessment of this
important public health issue," she said.