GSK's Cervarix prevents anal cancer in women

While HPV vaccines are mainly used to protect young women from cervical cancer, the shots have also been found to prevent other types of disease, including penile cancer and genital warts in males. Now, a new study has shown that GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix may also prevent anal cancer in women.

The NIH-sponsored study monitored 4,210 female patients inoculated with Cervarix in Costa Rica; after four years, the researchers found the vaccine had prevented 62% of cervical cancers and 77% of anal cancers due to HPV. The vaccine shields patients from two HPV strains--16 and 18--which have been linked to anal cancer, in addition to multiple other strains of the infection.

"We know anal HPV 16, but also 18, cause the bulk of anal cancers. We know if we remove the infection, it will greatly reduce the likelihood for the cancer," said Dr. Aimee Kreimer from the National Cancer Institute, to Reuters. Kreimer's study has been published in Lancet Oncology.

The study also found that the vaccine protects against additional HPV types than previously thought, including types 31, 33 and 45, according to Reuters.

- check out the Reuters coverage