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Prof Wendy Landier, Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA. Email: wclandier@uabmc.edu

WL, JLK, SB, MMH, LLR, and ARG came up with the concept and designed the study. WL, JLK, SB, MMH, FLW, JMY, JSF, HMH, PS, KA, KW-M, BC, RJ-R, ML, JAC, and SHA acquired, analysed, and interpreted the data. WL, JLK, SB, and FLW drafted the manuscript. All authors critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. WL, FLW, and JMY accessed and verified the data. FLW, WL, and SB statistically analysed the data. WL, JLK, and LLR obtained funding for the study. WL, JLK, SB, MMH, PS, and JMY provided administrative, technical, or material support. WL, JLK, SB, and MMH supervised the study. All authors had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for decision to submit for publication.

We thank Sean Phipps for his administrative and clinical research support throughout the study. All vaccine doses and competitive Luminex immunoassays that were used in this study were provided by Merck Sharp & Dohme without cost to the study. The opinions expressed in this Article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the organisations providing funding for this study.

JAC reports payment for a consulting or advisory role for X4 Pharmaceuticals. ARG reports payment for membership of a scientific advisory board and global advisory board for, honoraria from, and funds to their institution to conduct research studies unrelated to this research from Merck Sharp & Dohme. MMH reports payment for a consulting or advisory role for the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network Patient Advisory Committee, Princess Maxima Center Scientific Advisory Board, and SurvivorLink. WL reports non-financial support (provision of vaccine and laboratory analysis) to their institution related to this research from Merck Sharp & Dohme and payment for a consulting or advisory role for SurvivorLink. ML reports payment for consulting for Oncoceutics. All other authors declare no competing interests.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by the US National Cancer Institute (R01CA166559 for principal investigators WL and JLK), the Investigator-Initiated Studies Program of Merck Sharp & Dohme (MISP #40083 for principal investigator WL), and the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Pediatrics
  • TYPE-11

Immunogenicity and safety of the human papillomavirus vaccine in young survivors of cancer in the USA: a single-arm, open-label, phase 2, non-inferiority trial

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Journal Title:



Volume 6, Number 1


, Pages 38-48

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background: Young survivors of cancer are at increased risk for cancers that are related to human papillomavirus (HPV), primarily caused by oncogenic HPV types 16 and 18. We aimed to examine the immunogenicity and safety of the three-dose series of HPV vaccine in young survivors of cancer. Methods: We conducted an investigator-initiated, phase 2, single-arm, open-label, non-inferiority trial at five National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centres in the USA. Eligible participants were survivors of cancer who were HPV vaccine-naive, were aged 9–26 years, in remission, and had completed cancer therapy between 1 and 5 years previously. Participants received three intramuscular doses of either quadrivalent HPV vaccine (HPV4; enrolments on or before March 1, 2016) or nonavalent HPV vaccine (HPV9; enrolments after March 1, 2016) over 6 months (on day 1, at month 2, and at month 6). We also obtained data from published clinical trials assessing safety and immunogenicity of HPV4 and HPV9 in 9–26-year-olds from the general population, as a comparator group. The primary endpoint was antibody response against HPV types 16 and 18 at month 7 in the per-protocol population. A response was deemed non-inferior if the lower bound of the multiplicity-adjusted 95% CI was greater than 0·5 for the ratio of anti-HPV-16 and anti-HPV-18 geometric mean titres (GMTs) in survivors of cancer versus the general population. Responses were examined separately in male and female participants by age group (ie, 9–15 years and 16–26 years). Safety was assessed in all participants who received at least one vaccine dose and for whom safety data were available. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01492582. This trial is now completed. Findings: Between Feb 18, 2013, and June 22, 2018, we enrolled 453 survivors of cancer, of whom 436 received one or more vaccine doses: 203 (47%) participants had survived leukaemia, 185 (42%) were female, and 280 (64%) were non-Hispanic white. Mean age at first dose was 15·6 years (SD 4·6). 378 (83%) of 453 participants had evaluable immunogenicity data; main reasons for exclusion from per-protocol analysis were to loss to follow-up, patient reasons, and medical reasons. Data were also obtained from 26 486 general population controls. The ratio of mean GMT for anti-HPV types 16 and 18 in survivors of cancer versus the general population was more than 1 for all subgroups (ie, aged 9–15 years, aged 16–26 years, male, and female groups) in both vaccine cohorts (ranging from 1·64 [95% CI 1·12–2·18] for anti-HPV type 16 in female participants aged 9–15 years who received HPV9, to 4·77 [2·48–7·18] for anti-HPV type 18 in male participants aged 16–26 years who received HPV4). Non-inferiority criteria were met within each age and sex subgroup, except against HPV type 18 in female participants aged 16–26 years receiving HPV9 (4·30 [0·00–9·05]). Adverse events were reported by 237 (54%) of 435 participants; injection site pain was most common (174 [40%] participants). One serious adverse event (ie, erythema nodosum) was possibly related to vaccine (HPV9; 16–26 year female cohort). Interpretation: Immunogenicity and safety of HPV vaccine three-dose series in survivors of cancer is similar to that in the general population, providing evidence for use in this clinically vulnerable population. Funding: US National Cancer Institute, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, and American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities.
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