Comparison of different human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine types and dose schedules for prevention of HPV-related disease in females and males.

Bergman, Hanna; Buckley, Brian S; Villanueva, Gemma; Petkovic, Jennifer; Garritty, Chantelle; Lutje, Vittoria; Riveros-Balta, Alina Ximena; Low, Nicola; Henschke, Nicholas (2019). Comparison of different human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine types and dose schedules for prevention of HPV-related disease in females and males. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 2019(11), CD013479. WileyInterscience 10.1002/14651858.CD013479

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Uptake of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine remains low in many countries, although the bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines given as a three-dose schedule are effective in the prevention of precancerous lesions of the cervix in women. Simpler immunisation schedules, such as those with fewer doses, might reduce barriers to vaccination, as may programmes that include males.


To evaluate the efficacy, immunogenicity, and harms of different dose schedules and different types of HPV vaccines in females and males.


We conducted electronic searches on 27 September 2018 in Ovid MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (in the Cochrane Library), and Ovid Embase. We also searched the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and (both 27 September 2018), vaccine manufacturer websites, and checked reference lists from an index of HPV studies and other relevant systematic reviews.


We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with no language restriction. We considered studies if they enrolled HIV-negative males or females aged 9 to 26 years, or HIV-positive males or females of any age.


We used methods recommended by Cochrane. We use the term 'control' to refer to comparator products containing an adjuvant or active vaccine and 'placebo' to refer to products that contain no adjuvant or active vaccine. Most primary outcomes in this review were clinical outcomes. However, for comparisons comparing dose schedules, the included RCTs were designed to measure antibody responses (i.e. immunogenicity) as the primary outcome, rather than clinical outcomes, since it is unethical to collect cervical samples from girls under 16 years of age. We analysed immunogenicity outcomes (i.e. geometric mean titres) with ratios of means, clinical outcomes (e.g. cancer and intraepithelial neoplasia) with risk ratios or rate ratios and, for serious adverse events and deaths, we calculated odds ratios. We rated the certainty of evidence with GRADE.


We included 20 RCTs with 31,940 participants. The length of follow-up in the included studies ranged from seven months to five years. Two doses versus three doses of HPV vaccine in 9- to 15-year-old females Antibody responses after two-dose and three-dose HPV vaccine schedules were similar after up to five years of follow-up (4 RCTs, moderate- to high-certainty evidence). No RCTs collected clinical outcome data. Evidence about serious adverse events in studies comparing dose schedules was of very low-certainty owing to imprecision and indirectness (three doses 35/1159; two doses 36/1158; 4 RCTs). One death was reported in the three-dose group (1/898) and none in the two-dose group (0/899) (low-certainty evidence). Interval between doses of HPV vaccine in 9- to 14-year-old females and males Antibody responses were stronger with a longer interval (6 or 12 months) between the first two doses of HPV vaccine than a shorter interval (2 or 6 months) at up to three years of follow-up (4 RCTs, moderate- to high-certainty evidence). No RCTs collected data about clinical outcomes. Evidence about serious adverse events in studies comparing intervals was of very low-certainty, owing to imprecision and indirectness. No deaths were reported in any of the studies (0/1898, 3 RCTs, low-certainty evidence). HPV vaccination of 10- to 26-year-old males In one RCT there was moderate-certainty evidence that quadrivalent HPV vaccine, compared with control, reduced the incidence of external genital lesions (control 36 per 3081 person-years; quadrivalent 6 per 3173 person-years; rate ratio 0.16, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.38; 6254 person-years) and anogenital warts (control 28 per 2814 person-years; quadrivalent 3 per 2831 person-years; rate ratio 0.11, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.38; 5645 person-years). The quadrivalent vaccine resulted in more injection-site adverse events, such as pain or redness, than control (537 versus 601 per 1000; risk ratio (RR) 1.12, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.18, 3895 participants, high-certainty evidence). There was very low-certainty evidence from two RCTs about serious adverse events with quadrivalent vaccine (control 12/2588; quadrivalent 8/2574), and about deaths (control 11/2591; quadrivalent 3/2582), owing to imprecision and indirectness. Nonavalent versus quadrivalent vaccine in 9- to 26-year-old females and males Three RCTs were included; one in females aged 9- to 15-years (n = 600), one in females aged 16- to 26-years (n = 14,215), and one in males aged 16- to 26-years (n = 500). The RCT in 16- to 26-year-old females reported clinical outcomes. There was little to no difference in the incidence of the combined outcome of high-grade cervical epithelial neoplasia, adenocarcinoma in situ, or cervical cancer between the HPV vaccines (quadrivalent 325/6882, nonavalent 326/6871; OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.16; 13,753 participants; high-certainty evidence). The other two RCTs did not collect data about clinical outcomes. There were slightly more local adverse events with the nonavalent vaccine (905 per 1000) than the quadrivalent vaccine (846 per 1000) (RR 1.07, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.08; 3 RCTs, 15,863 participants; high-certainty evidence). Comparative evidence about serious adverse events in the three RCTs (nonavalent 243/8234, quadrivalent 192/7629; OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.14 to 2.61) was of low certainty, owing to imprecision and indirectness. HPV vaccination for people living with HIV Seven RCTs reported on HPV vaccines in people with HIV, with two small trials that collected data about clinical outcomes. Antibody responses were higher following vaccination with either bivalent or quadrivalent HPV vaccine than with control, and these responses could be demonstrated to have been maintained for up to 24 months in children living with HIV (low-certainty evidence). The evidence about clinical outcomes and harms for HPV vaccines in people with HIV is very uncertain (low- to very low-certainty evidence), owing to imprecision and indirectness.


The immunogenicity of two-dose and three-dose HPV vaccine schedules, measured using antibody responses in young females, is comparable. The quadrivalent vaccine probably reduces external genital lesions and anogenital warts in males compared with control. The nonavalent and quadrivalent vaccines offer similar protection against a combined outcome of cervical, vaginal, and vulval precancer lesions or cancer. In people living with HIV, both the bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines result in high antibody responses. For all comparisons of alternative HPV vaccine schedules, the certainty of the body of evidence about serious adverse events reported during the study periods was low or very low, either because the number of events was low, or the evidence was indirect, or both. Post-marketing surveillance is needed to continue monitoring harms that might be associated with HPV vaccines in the population, and this evidence will be incorporated in future updates of this review. Long-term observational studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of reduced-dose schedules against HPV-related cancer endpoints, and whether adopting these schedules improves vaccine coverage rates.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Low, Nicola


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Andrea Flükiger-Flückiger

Date Deposited:

26 Nov 2019 15:19

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:32

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