Gardasil protected most women from cervical cancer and homosexual men from anal cancer, according to new studies from Merck. In about 3,800 women ages 24 to 45 years old, three shots prevented precancerous lesions on the cervix and genital warts in 89 percent compared to placebo, theAssociated Press writes.
Gardasil, you may recall, is approved to prevent HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer, and genital warts in girls and women aged 9 to 26, and for preventing genital warts in boys and men aged 9 to 26. But Merck has been frusrated trying to win FDA approval to widen the market for its HPV vaccine. In June 2008, the agency bounced its request to treat women aged 27 to 45, which contributed to a slowdown in sales (background here). Early last year, the FDA again withheld approval and asked Merck to submit data when a 48-month study on a test group has been completed.
In the second study of homosexual men, three injections of the vaccine prevented anal cancer and precancerous lesions of the anus in about 77 percent of young men, compared with those in a group given a placebo (see Merck press release) and read more about the study results in The Pink Sheet.