BackgroundResults from the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial (CVT) demonstrated partial cross-protection by the bivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which targets HPV-16 and HPV-18, against HPV-31, -33, and -45 infection and an increased incidence of HPV-51 infection.
MethodsA study nested within the CVT intention-to-treat cohort was designed to assess high-risk HPV variant lineage-specific vaccine efficacy (VE). The 2 main end points were (1) long-term incident infections persisting for ≥2 years and/or progression to high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (ie, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2/3 [CIN 2/3]) and (2) incident transient infections lasting for <2 years. For efficiency, incident infections due to HPV-16, -18, -31, -33, -35, -45, and -51 resulting in persistent infection and/or CIN 2/3 were matched (ratio, 1:2) to the more-frequent transient viral infections, by HPV type. Variant lineages were determined by sequencing the upstream regulatory region and/or E6 region.
ResultsVEs against persistent or transient infections with HPV-16, -18, -33, -35, -45, and -51 did not differ significantly by variant lineage. As the possible exception, VEs against persistent infection and/or CIN 2/3 due to HPV-31 A/B and HPV-31C variants were -7.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], -33.9% to 0%) and 86.4% (95% CI, 65.1%-97.1%), respectively (P = .02 for test of equal VE). No difference in VE was observed by variant among transient HPV-31 infections (P = .68).
ConclusionsOverall, sequence variation at the variant level does not appear to explain partial cross-protection by the bivalent HPV vaccine.