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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

HPV Vaccine Safely Evokes Immune Response in Women Who Had Stem Cell Transplant

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine provides a safe, robust immune response against HPV in reproductive-aged women who have had a stem cell transplant. This was shown by a small study that enrolled 64 women participating in the Intramural Research Program at NHLBI, NCI and other institutes at the Clinical Center.

The results, published Feb. 27 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology, suggest that the vaccine may help prevent against new HPV infections and associated cervical, vulvar and other HPV-related cancers in women with a donor-acquired immune system.

All women received the first-generation FDA-approved quadrivalent HPV vaccine—which protects against two high-risk and two low-risk HPV types—three times on the first day, and at 2 and 6 months.

After measuring the women’s immune responses to vaccination, researchers found that 78 percent of women receiving immunosuppressants, 95 percent of those off immunosuppression and 100 percent of the healthy volunteers developed an antibody response to all four HPV vaccine types.

Five of the 8 participants who had previous treatment with the drug rituximab, which researchers described as being known to hinder responses to vaccines, still mounted an immune response to the HPV vaccine. The side effects from the HPV vaccine were mild and did not differ across all groups of women. 

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