Vaccinating adolescent boys against the human papillomavirus (HPV) may be a cost-effective way to prevent oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer, a new study has shown. Findings from the study are published in Cancer.

RELATED: More HPV Vaccinations for Boys: Greater Protection, Same Cost 

Donna Graham, MB, BCh, MRCPUK, and colleagues compared the potential costs and effectiveness of vaccinating adolescent males in Canada against HPV for preventing HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. A Markov model was applied to a cohort of 192,940 Canadian boys who were 12 years old in 2012. The study outcome was the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). 

Study authors found that HPV vaccination produced 0.05 more QALYs per individual assuming 99% vaccine efficacy and 70% uptake. Over the boys’ lifetime, HPV vaccination could potentially save $8–$28 million Canadian dollars. Cost savings were attributable to factors such as vaccine cost, vaccine effectiveness, cancer treatment costs, and survival of patients with HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer, among others. 

Currently, HPV vaccination in boys is unfunded and excluded from national immunization programs in many countries. Researchers hope that the study’s findings will increase awareness and lead to more analyses on this issue. 

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