In December, the results of five years of HPV-research within the project CoheaHr were presented at the HPV congress Eurogin. CoheaHr stands for Comparing health services interventions for the prevention of HPV-related cancer and was coördinated by Hans Berkhof (DMC-VUmc). The research project was initiated in 2013 and successfully completed in 2018.
CoheaHr was a European-funded multidisciplinary consortium of key researchers in the field of HPV screening and vaccination. The project provided a comprehensive evidence base on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of screening and HPV vaccination programs across Europe for the prevention of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases. The results of the project will support policy makers in decisions to prevent HPV-related disease.
Experts of the DMC contributed to CoheaHr by developing and using HPV transmission and screening models to evaluate alternative vaccination and screening strategies. One of the key results is that sex-neutral vaccination (instead of girls-only vaccination) is cost-effective at current tender-based vaccine procurement prices (Qendri et al. 2017). Besides, Hans Berkhof coördinated a trial in the Netherlands to compare self-sampled HPV testing with clinician-based HPV testing within the current screening program. Self-sampling appeared as accurate as clinician-based sampling (Polman et al. 2019).
Other interesting results within the CoheaHr project are:
i) the acceptability of HPV vaccination among screen-eligible women was high across Europe
ii) the frequency of serious adverse events after vaccination did not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated women
iii) the risk of precursor lesions was decreased in vaccinated women indicating that less intensive screening of vaccinated women could be considered.
Altogether, the results indicate that there is substantial scope for improving the prevention of HPV-related diseases in Europe by extending HPV vaccination from preadolescent girls to older females and to preadolescent males. Furthermore, HPV screening can be further optimized taking into account the vaccination and screening history of women and by improving the management of HPV-positive women.
For more information about the project and a list of all publications, please visit the CoheaHr website