Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Efficacy of the bivalent HPV vaccine against HPV 16/18-associated precancer: long-term follow-up results from the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial.

  • Author(s): Porras, Carolina
  • Tsang, Sabrina H
  • Herrero, Rolando
  • Guillén, Diego
  • Darragh, Teresa M
  • Stoler, Mark H
  • Hildesheim, Allan
  • Wagner, Sarah
  • Boland, Joseph
  • Lowy, Douglas R
  • Schiller, John T
  • Schiffman, Mark
  • Schussler, John
  • Gail, Mitchell H
  • Quint, Wim
  • Ocampo, Rebeca
  • Morales, Jorge
  • Rodríguez, Ana C
  • Hu, Shangying
  • Sampson, Joshua N
  • Kreimer, Aimée R
  • Costa Rica Vaccine Trial Group
  • et al.


Oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) infections cause most cases of cervical cancer. Here, we report long-term follow-up results for the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial (publicly funded and initiated before licensure of the HPV vaccines), with the aim of assessing the efficacy of the bivalent HPV vaccine for preventing HPV 16/18-associated cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (CIN2+).


Women aged 18-25 years were enrolled in a randomised, double-blind, controlled trial in Costa Rica, between June 28, 2004, and Dec 21, 2005, designed to assess the efficacy of a bivalent vaccine for the prevention of infection with HPV 16/18 and associated precancerous lesions at the cervix. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive an HPV 16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine or control hepatitis A vaccine. Vaccines were administered intramuscularly in three 0·5 mL doses at 0, 1, and 6 months and participants were followed up annually for 4 years. After the blinded phase, women in the HPV vaccine group were invited to enrol in the long-term follow-up study, which extended follow-up for 7 additional years. The control group received HPV vaccine and was replaced with a new unvaccinated control group. Women were followed up every 2 years until year 11. Investigators and patients were aware of treatment allocation for the follow-up phase. At each visit, clinicians collected cervical cells from sexually active women for cytology and HPV testing. Women with abnormal cytology were referred to colposcopy, biopsy, and treatment as needed. Women with negative results at the last screening visit (year 11) exited the long-term follow-up study. The analytical cohort for vaccine efficacy included women who were HPV 16/18 DNA-negative at vaccination. The primary outcome of this analysis was defined as histopathologically confirmed CIN2+ or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or worse associated with HPV 16/18 cervical infection detected at colposcopy referral. We calculated vaccine efficacy by year and cumulatively. This long-term follow-up study is registered with, NCT00867464.


7466 women were enrolled in the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial; 3727 received the HPV vaccine and 3739 received the control vaccine. Between March 30, 2009, and July 5, 2012, 2635 women in the HPV vaccine group and 2836 women in the new unvaccinated control group were enrolled in the long-term follow-up study. 2635 women in the HPV vaccine group and 2677 women in the control group were included in the analysis cohort for years 0-4, and 2073 women from the HPV vaccine group and 2530 women from the new unvaccinated control group were included in the analysis cohort for years 7-11. Median follow-up time for the HPV group was 11·1 years (IQR 9·1-11·7), 4·6 years (4·3-5·3) for the original control group, and 6·2 years (5·5-6·9) for the new unvaccinated control group. At year 11, vaccine efficacy against incident HPV 16/18-associated CIN2+ was 100% (95% CI 89·2-100·0); 34 (1·5%) of 2233 unvaccinated women had a CIN2+ outcome compared with none of 1913 women in the HPV group. Cumulative vaccine efficacy against HPV 16/18-associated CIN2+ over the 11-year period was 97·4% (95% CI 88·0-99·6). Similar protection was observed against HPV 16/18-associated CIN3-specifically at year 11, vaccine efficacy was 100% (95% CI 78·8-100·0) and cumulative vaccine efficacy was 94·9% (73·7-99·4). During the long-term follow-up, no serious adverse events occurred that were deemed related to the HPV vaccine. The most common grade 3 or worse serious adverse events were pregnancy, puerperium, and perinatal conditions (in 255 [10%] of 2530 women in the unvaccinated control group and 201 [10%] of 2073 women in the HPV vaccine group). Four women in the unvaccinated control group and three in the HPV vaccine group died; no deaths were deemed to be related to the HPV vaccine.


The bivalent HPV vaccine has high efficacy against HPV 16/18-associated precancer for more than a decade after initial vaccination, supporting the notion that invasive cervical cancer is preventable.


US National Cancer Institute.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View