Vaccines prevent cancers of the liver and cervix

July 03, 2002

Both cancer of the liver and cervix are caused by viruses. Hepatitis B (HBV) may cause hepatocellular carcinoma - liver cancer. Human papilloma virus (HPV) may cause cervical cancer. Women infected with the virus HPV have a 100 fold greater risk of developing cervical cancer than uninfected women. HPV are also important causes of anal, vulva and penis cancers, and a small number of oropharynx and skin cancers. - With vaccines against HBV and HPV up to 15% of the global cancer incidence in women seems to be preventable, Professor Harald zur Hausen told the 18th UICC International Cancer Congress in Oslo this week. zur Hausen is Scientific Director at the German Cancer Research Centre (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum) in Heidelberg, Germany.

Clinical trials for HPV vaccination are presently carried out in various places around the world. Phase II trials have been finished and revealed the safety of the vaccines used and the induction of high antibody titers against some types of high and low risk papillomaviruses.

An effective vaccine against hepatitis B (HBV) has been available since 1981. First data suggesting a protective effect for hepatocellular carcinoma were published from Taiwan in 1997. Results from Gambia show that vaccines for heaptitis B in children is 95 per cent effective in protecting aganinst chronic HBV infection. 10 years after the vaccination, hepatitis B is much lower in vaccinated than in unvaccinated children, and the proportion of chronic carriers has dropped tenfold to just 1% of the total.

Half a million women contract cervical cancer every year
Cancer of the cervix is most common in South America and parts of Africa and Asia. The number of new cases world wide is estimated to about 500 000 new cases a year. This cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, accounting for 5,8 per cent of the 9,9 million new cancer cases in 2000.

More than 80 per cent of the victims live in areas where there is no screening, and will not be for the foreseeable future. Because the cancers in these areas often are diagnosed in an advanced stage, most patients die from the cancer. The disease burden is increasing.

One example is Zimbabwe where cervical cancer is the most commonly registered cancer (27 %). The peak age for diagnosis is 47 years. About 80 per cent of the patients present with advcanced stages. This makes curative treatment difficult. Two hospitals provide surgery and radiation for a population of 13 million people.

While waiting for vaccines to prevent cervical cancer, new screening strategies are needed in low income countries which have no infrastructure for PAP smear screening. So far visual inspection with acetic acid and HPV-detection seem to be the most promising methods. Screening programmes have to be tailored for individual resource and socio-cultural setting.

In contrast up to 80 per cent of cervical cancer in developed countries are prevented by screening using PAP smear. In these countries it is discussed if too much resources are spent on screening and treatment of pre-invasive lesions. Due to surgical intervention, the over-all risk of progression of pre-invasive disease to invasive disease is probably less than 5%.

Liver cancer most abundant in east Asia and parts of Africa
Liver cancer is the fifth most frequent cancer of the world, affecting both men and women. 5,8 per cent of all new cancer cases worldwide are liver cancer - about 570 000 of 9,9 million new cases in 2000.

Liver cancer is the most common cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. The cancer is also frequent in east Asia, particularly China. This is due to the high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus infection and exposure to the food borne carcinogen aflatoxin B1.

Hepatitis B is also a main cause of disabling liver disease in large parts of the world. In some countries virtually the entire population is exposed to the virus, and 5 - 30% are chronic carriers.
-end-


Norwegian Cancer Society

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.