Multi-year effect of human papillomavirus vaccination on recurrent respiratory papillomatosis

Objective: To examine whether human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination in combination with surgical resection could suppress recurrence for an extended period of time in patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).

Methods: In a prospective case series, data of patients who received combination therapy comprising surgery and quadrivalent HPV vaccination (Gardasil; Merck & Co., West Point, PA) were collected. Patients were followed up for RRP from March 2012 to July 2018 in an academic tertiary care center. The patients comprised 16 adults with RRP who were observed for >12 months after HPV vaccination, and whose HPV-DNA status was tested before and for >12 months after completion of combination therapy. The outcomes of this study were the severity score of larynx disease, tumor incidence rate, and relationship between this rate and HPV-DNA negative conversion after therapy.

Results: The severity score of laryngeal disease significantly decreased from before combination therapy to the time of final examination (P = 0.00045). The tumor incidence rate decreased to approximately 20% during the period from 12 to 47 months after HPV vaccination. Regarding HPV-DNA status in the final test results of each patient, 12 of 16 (75%) patients showed negative conversion; these 12 were significantly less likely to experience recurrence than patients who persistently tested positive for HPV-DNA during the period between 12 and 47 months after vaccination.

Conclusion: HPV vaccination prevented recurrence associated with RRP surgery for 4 years in 80% of patients. This may be an effective adjuvant therapy, and HPV-DNA negative conversion after HPV vaccination might predict prevention of recurrence.