GlaxoSmithKline recently announced the launch of its cervical cancer vaccine in the Philippines. GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine is indicated in both young and older women (10 years of age onwards) for the prevention of cervical cancer and provides 100 percent protection against human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18, which together are responsible for over 70 percent of cervical cancer cases in Asia Pacific. It has also shown efficacy against persistent infection caused by other oncogenic HPV types.
"All women are at risk of developing cervical cancer." said Professor Cecilia Ladines-Llave Chair of the Cancer Institute, University of Philippines –Philippine General Hospital, Vice President of the Asia-Oceania Research Organisation in Genital Infection and Neoplasia (AOGIN) Philippines, and program Director of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network Alliance Program in the Philippines.
"While most HPV infections clear up naturally, some remain and may develop changes in the cervical cells that may lead to cervical cancer, often after many years and without warning signs.3 A vaccine with the potential to protect both young and older women against the main causes of cervical cancer represents a significant milestone in women’s health and is wonderful news for Filipino women and women across Asia," explained Professor Llave.
GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine is the only cervical cancer vaccine that has been formulated using the innovative adjuvant system called AS04, which is designed to enhance immune response and increase the duration of protection against cancer-causing HPV types. In recent clinical trials, GSK's cervical cancer vaccine demonstrated high levels of antibodies against HPV types 16 and 18 and 100 per cent4-9 protection over 5.5 years against HPV types 16 and 18 associated cervical cancer lesions that can lead to cervical cancer. Published data have shown that the AS04 adjuvant formulation provides a stronger and more sustained immune response compared with a traditional aluminum adjuvant alone.
Each year in the Philippines 6,000 women develop cervical cancer and it is estimated that 4,300 women die from the disease. With about two-thirds of cervical cancer cases in the country diagnosed in the advanced stages when mortality is high, 56 percent of Filipino women with cervical cancer will die within 5 years from the time of diagnosis.
In Asia Pacific, about 266,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year, with 140,000 women dying from the disease, many in the prime of their lives – currently more than half of Asian women diagnosed with cervical cancer die from the disease. It is the second most common female cancer in the region – where a woman dies of cervical cancer every 4 minutes.
“The risk of cervical cancer increases with age, affecting women at the prime of their lives usually between the age of 30 to 50 years, often while they are working and still responsible for children or other family members”, said Professor Diane Harper, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Dartmouth College and Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Community & Family Medicine Dartmouth Medical School Hanover, New Hampshire in the United States. “Clinical research has shown that GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine has the potential to prevent cervical cancer in older women, and this, alongside cervical screening marks the beginning of a new era in the future management of cervical cancer in this population of older women”, commented Professor Harper.
GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine has been tested in over 18,000 females in clinical trials and, in these trials, the GSK cervical cancer vaccine showed high levels of efficacy in preventing precancerous lesions due to cancer-causing virus types 16 and 18. Approximately one-third of patients tested were from Asia Pacific, with studies conducted in the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand in women between the ages of 15-25 years.
In the findings from these clinical trials, GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine was shown to have a good safety profile and to be generally well-tolerated in women. Data also showed that GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine prevents 27 percent of persistent infections caused by other cancer-causing HPV types.
The primary vaccination course for GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine consists of three doses, given at 0, 1 and 6 months.