Utility of the Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in Management of HPV-associated Cutaneous Lesions

Jane Gay, BA; Nathan Johnson, MD; Varun Kavuru, BA; Mariana Phillips, MD


Skin Therapy Letter. 2021;26(2):6-8. 

In This Article

Keratinocyte Carcinomas

Clinicians have long suspected HPV as having an etiologic role in the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). A meta-analysis by Wang et al. confirmed this association and suggested HPV may serve as a co-carcinogen in conjunction with other factors that increase the risk of cutaneous SCC.[7] Nichols et al. examined the effect of quadrivalent Gardasil vaccination in 2 patients with a history of multiple keratinocyte carcinomas.[8] Both patients were immunocompetent and received standard schedule HPV immunization with full skin examinations performed every 3 months during the study period. Each patient subsequently demonstrated a reduced rate in the development of new SCCs and basal cell carcinomas (BCC) compared to their baseline rates. Patient 1 experienced a decrease in SCC by 62.5% per year and a decrease in BCC incidence from 1 to 0 per year. Patient 2 experienced a decrease in SCC incidence by 66.5% per year and had a similar decrease in BCC incidence.[8]

Nichols et al. subsequently employed the 9-valent HPV vaccine in the treatment of an immunocompetent female in her 90s with numerous basaloid SCCs on her right leg.[24] The patient was treated with 2 intramuscular injections of nonavalent Gardasil (given 6 weeks apart) followed by intratumoral injection into 3 of the largest tumors. She subsequently received 3 additional intratumoral injections over the following 8 months. Clinical improvement in size and number of tumors was noted within 2 weeks of administration of the second intratumoral dose. Eleven months after the first intratumoral dose, the patient had no remaining SCCs and sustained clinical remission for at least 24 months.