Agorastos T, Chatzigeorgiou K, Brotherton JM, Garland SM.
Despite the advent of the Papanicolaou smear test almost 50 years ago, cervical cancer remains the second most common malignant disease in women and the leading cause of cancer death in developing countries. Thus the two prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines currently available have been greeted with enthusiasm internationally, as an emerging primary prevention strategy against cervical cancer. Prior to licensure the vaccines were trialed in over 60,000 women and assessed as safe, within the statistical constraints of the trials to detect very rare events. Post-licensure surveillance is underway as vaccination programs are undertaken. We reviewed published post-licensure surveillance data, as at January 2009, and concur with international advisory bodies that both HPV vaccines are safe, effective and of great importance for women's health. Ongoing monitoring is required to maintain confidence in the safety of the vaccines.