Human Papillomavirus Vaccine and the Ovary: The Need for Research

Proceedings of the 18th World Congress on Controversies in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility. (COGI) October 24-27, 2013 Vienna, Austria 

Author and affiliation
Department of General Practice North Bellingen Medical Services, Bellingen, NSW Australia.
Visiting Medical Officer Bellinger River District Hospital, NSW, Australia

 This article published with the permission of the author, Deirdre Little


New onset of menstrual disturbance and oligomenorrhoea commencing four months after quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4) and proceeding to premature ovarian failure over the next twenty four months occurred in a well 16-year-old girl. Exclusion of metabolic, other endocrine, genetic and overt auto-immune causes left unknown causation as it does in 90% of cases. Enquiry of vaccine animal testing found no research reports were available of ovarian histology or of ongoing ovarian function in vaccine tested rats. Histology reports were available of vaccine tested rat testes and epididymides. Pre-clinical studies did not consider the duration or capacity of the reproductive life-span. Subsequent phase II and phase III clinical studies before vaccine licensing have lacked the capacity to attest to ovarian function due to weaknesses in study design and hormonal contraceptive usage. Studies since licensing lack capacity to evaluate ovarian function due to focus on emergency department presentations, and definitional limitations. Vaccine adverse event notifications of amenorrhoea are poorly investigated and followed up. Other documented published cases of premature menopause following HPV4 vaccination indicate the need for further research of the ovary after HPV4 vaccination. In the interests of women’s reproductive health and egg-bearing capacity, this issue needs to be resolved prior to the implementation of universal vaccination programmes. 

Keywords: HPV4 (Gardasil TM) oligomenorrhoea periods ovarian failure menopause            


A 16-year-old girl presented with secondary amenorrhoea following 12 months of oligomenorrhoea after HPV4 vaccinations, completed in August 2008. Menarche had occurred at age 13 and a regular monthly pattern had established. Menses became irregular in early 2009 and scant and infrequent by 2010. Menstruation ceased in January 2011 and hot flushes commenced. The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) was prescribed, which she declined, preferring further assessment for continuing amenorrhoea at which premature ovarian failure (POF) was diagnosed [[1]]. Amenorrhoea and POF after HPV4 in young teens have been notified as vaccine adverse events to safety surveillance programmes such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) [[2]] in the USA. Cases of secondary amenorrhoea in very young teens following HPV4 administration and subsequently diagnosed as premature ovarian failure have recently been published [[3]]. The incidence of POF between ages 15 to 29 years has been reported as 10/100,000 person-years [[4]] but the prevalence of idiopathic POF in very early to mid-teen age groups is uncertain. Research on ovarian health and safety in early teens after HPV4 was sought.


Pre-clinical toxicology studies, clinical pre-licensing studies and post-licensing research and surveillance were reviewed. Request was made to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for a histology report of the vaccine tested rodent ovary and for data concerning tested rats’ subsequent litters and numbers of pups therein. Clinical studies which had been identified by the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee [[5]] (VRBPAC) as HPV4 pre-licensing safety studies were reviewed for evidence of ongoing ovarian safety after HPV4. Post-licensing studies were reviewed for their capacity to detect safety signals for ovarian malfunction. VAERS database case histories (August 10th 2013) were searched for notifications indicating possible deterioration in ovarian function following HPV4.


Pre-clinical studies    The TGA agreed to a ‘freedom of information’ request (FOI 001-1112) for a histology report of the vaccine-tested rat ovary; and numbers of subsequent pups and litters produced by vaccine-tested rats. No histology report of vaccine-tested rat ovaries was available. No research was available concerning ongoing rat reproductive function and subsequent fecundity. Tested rats conceived once at the onset of sexual maturity and evaluation of the ovary at post-weaning euthanasia recorded only a numbering of corpora lutea present. No record of ovarian cellular integrity was available [[6]]. A histology report of testes and epididymides is included in The TGA Public Assessment Report for HPV Vaccine February 2011 [[7]]. Pre-clinical studies to evaluate the safety profile and biological activities of vaccines inform subsequent clinical trials.

Clinical Pre-licensing Safety Studies

Pre-licensing studies of HPV4 which were identified by the VRBPAC [5] to the Food and Drug Administration as safety studies were Phase II  study protocols V501: 007 [[8]], 016 [[9]], and 018 [[10]]  and phase III  protocols 013 (‘Future I’) [[11]] and 015 (‘Future II’) [[12]]. Of these safety studies, only phase II protocols 016 and 018 studied adolescents under 16.years. A vaccine report card recorded temperatures and adverse events occurring within 2 weeks of each vaccination and prompted for recording of local site reactions.

Protocol 016 [9] studied 506 healthy girls aged 10 to 15 years. Only 240 girls, 47.4%, completed the planned 12 month follow-up. The VRBPAC describes it as a ‘Phase II study of the safety and immunogenicity of Gardasil when administered to approximately 2500 healthy children’. The unexplained loss of the majority of participants to 12 month follow-up and small numbers of those remaining who had reached menarche, precludes this study from competence to evaluate ongoing ovarian function. One participant experienced vaginal haemorrhages 26 and 42 days after 2nd and 3rd vaccinations respectively. This event was initially deemed vaccine related.

Protocol 018 [10] fully vaccinated 492 girls aged 9 to15: mean study age 11.9. The proportion post menarche is not clear. Protocol 018 Vaccine report card (VRC) prompted for injection site reactions and also prompted for reporting of headaches, rashes, muscle/joint pain and diarrhea that occurred within 14 days of each vaccination, but not menstrual aberration. Follow-up interviews to 18 months assessed general safety and all serious adverse events [[13]]: hospitalization, life threatening illness, disability, death, illness requiring surgical/medical correction. Health interviews within 18 months of 1st vaccination may not have the ability to detect menstrual abnormalities in very young teens at an undetermined interval post menarche when cycle patterns are still establishing. Investigators judged which events were vaccine related, and deemed that none, including dysfunctional uterine bleeding causing anaemia, were related.

In Protocol 007, 256 older women 16 to 23 years received 3x HPV4 GardasilTM. Participants ‘were required to use effective contraception throughout the trial.’ [[14]]. 57.9% used hormonal contraception and 13.2% who commenced vaccination did not complete the 3 year trial (a further 771 completed vaccination with other vaccine formulations or differing aluminium placebos).

Phase III ‘Future 1’ [11] and ‘Future 2’ [12] studies enrolled mostly older subjects 16 to 23 years. 58% to 60% of these phase III participants used hormonal contraception, potentially masking ovarian dysfunction. All phase III subjects were ‘required to use effective contraception day 1 through month 7’. A subsequent HPV4 safety studies review [15] of 21,480 females in licensing trials states ‘new medical conditions were not considered adverse events if they occurred post month 7 or were not considered by the investigators to be vaccine/placebo- or procedure-related.’ [[15]]. These studies were inadequate for assessing reproductive safety. The TGA licensing body classifies an association between HPV4 and female fertility as not biologically plausible [[16]].

Selected placebo controls for safety trials comprised aluminium adjuvant or a combination [10] of polysorbate 80, borate, sodium chloride and yeast in young teen study 018. Each control has components implicated in ovarian pathology [3] [[17]].

Post-licensing Safety Studies 

The major post-licensing study of HPV4 safety [[18]] reviewed 189,629 vaccinated females including 44,000 who had received three doses. Selected outcome measures were subjects’ hospitalizations and emergency department visits following vaccination. 11 to12 year olds who received 3 doses comprised 4.3% of the overall study population; 9 to15 year olds comprised 12.9%. The consultation context for seeking medical management of oligomenorrhoea or amenorrhoea is not normally the emergency department and will not require hospitalization. This study had no capacity to evaluate ongoing ovarian health or to monitor ovarian safety.

The Protocol 018 group of  577 girls who completed vaccinations became the sentinel study for long term safety of HPV4 in adolescents [[19]]. Surveillance comprised: annual physical examination and serum collection to age 16, then twice yearly collection of a sexual history and genital clinical specimens. Serious adverse experiences deemed by the investigator to be vaccine related, pregnancy outcomes and deaths are monitored. Protocol 018 reiterates ‘the relationship between adverse experiences and vaccine was reported by the investigator according to his/her best judgment, based on exposure, time course, likely cause and  probability with vaccine profile’[10, 15]. However, this vaccine’s reproductive safety profile in 2005-2007 and since has not yet been established.

The VAERS [2] notes 104 cases of new amenorrhoea post HPV4 of whom less than 9% reported a return of menses at follow-up. Only one subject out of 105 notifications had an FSH level recorded, and it was ‘elevated at 72’ (no units specified). In 62% of ongoing amenorrhoea notifications to VAERS, no further information was obtained. No anti-Mullerian hormone levels were recorded. Four teens with POF following HPV4 are recorded under ‘amenorrhoea’, ‘ovarian failure’ and ‘premature menopause‘. Other published cases [3] describe onset of declining menstrual function at ages of 13, 14 and 20 after HPV4 preceding diagnoses of premature ovarian failure.

Diminished menstrual patterns do not signal as ‘Serious Adverse Events’ in surveillance and are invisible with OCP; ongoing Vaccine Safety Datalink surveillance of conditions arising post HPV4 does not include menstrual abnormalities in its focus [[20]]. Other surveillance methods rely on known background prevalence and controls [[21]]   


Pre-clinical, clinical and post-licensure safety studies of HPV4 were unable to evaluate ovarian safety. This matter needs to be resolved, since a potential compromise of future ovarian function could have serious implications for population health and fecundity.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  Dr. Harvey Roderick Grenville Ward, Don Radford,

Helen Cleland Wyborn, Michael Driscoll, Sally Toms and Kath O’Meley.


[1]. BMJ Case Reports 2012; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-006879


[3]. Colafrancesco S, Perricone C et al Human papillomavirus vaccine and primary ovarian failure: another   facet of the autoimmune inflammatory syndrome Am Journ Reprod Immunol 2013 doi:10.1111/aji.12151.

[4].  Coulam CB, Adamson SC et al Incidence of premature ovarian failure. Obstet Gynecol 1986;67:604-6.

[5].  Background Doc. GardasilTM  Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent VaccineVRBPAC Meeting 5/2006

[6].  Extract Study no.TT#03-703-0(CTD) Module 4, volumes 1-3) summary for non-clinical study report ‘Intramuscular developmental toxicity and immunogenicity study in rats with postweaning evaluation’

[7].  Wise DL, Jayanthi JW, Caplanski CV et al. Lack of effects on fertility and developmental toxicity of a quadrivalent HPV vaccine in Sprague-Dawley rats . Birth Defects Res.(Part B) 2008; 83:561-72. Merck research laboratories., Westpoint, Pennsylvania.

[8]. Villa LL, Costa RLR, Petta CA et al.Prophyllactic quadrivalent human papillomavirus (types 6,11,16 and 18) L1 virus-like particle vaccine in young women: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre phase II efficacy trial. Lancet Oncol 2005;6(5):271-8.

[9].  Block SL, Nolan T, Sattler C et al. Comparison of the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of a prophylactic quadrivalent human papillomavirus (types 6, 11,16 and 18) L1 virus-like particle vaccine in male and female adolescents and young adult women. Pediatrics vol 18, No.5, Nov 2006, pp2135-45.

[10]. Reisinger KS, Block SL, Lazcano-Ponce E. Safety and persistent immunogenicity of quadrivalent human papillomavirus virus-like particle vaccine in pre-adolescents and adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2007; 26(3): 201-209.

[11]. Garland SM, Hernandez-Avila M, Wheeler CM et al Quadrivalent vaccine against human papillomavirus  to prevent anogenital disease NEJM 2007; 356: 1928-1943.

[12]. Future II study Group: Quadrivalent vaccine against human papillomavirus to prevent high grade cervical lesions NEJM 2007 356(19): 1915-1927.

[13].  Serious Adverse Events Defined by Code of Federal Regulations

[14]. Villa LL,, Costa RLR, Petta CA et al.Prophylactic quadrivalent human papillomavirus (types 6,11,16,18) L1 virus-like particle vaccine in young women: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre phase II efficacy trial Lancet Oncol 2005;6(5): 271-8.

[15]. Block SL, Brown DR et alClinical trial and post-licensure safety profile of a prophylactic human papillomavirus(Types 6,11,16 and 18)L1virus-like particle vaccine Ped Inf Diseases Jour 29, no2 Feb 2010

[16]. Aust. Gov. Dept Health and Ageing: Immunization myths and realities 5th ed May 2013.

[17]. Gajdova M, Jakubovsky J et al Delayed effects of neonatal exposure to tween 80 on female reproductive organs in rats. Fd Chem. Toxic. Vol.31, No.3, pp183-190 1993

[18]. Klein NP, Hansen J et al  Safety of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine administered routinely to females. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med  October 1st 2012 www.ARCHPEDIATRICS.COM

[19]. Bonanni P, Cohet C, et al A Summary of post-licensure surveillance initiatives for GARDASIL/SILGARD Vaccine 28 (2010) 4719-4730.

[20]. Vaccines Blood and Biologics Information FDA&CDC 20th August 2009.

[21]. Baggs J, Gee J et al ‘The vaccine safety datalink a model for monitoring immunization safety’ Pediatrics vol 127 No. supplement 1 May 1 2011 pp545-553.


  1. Godofredo says:

    From its inception until the appearance of uterine cervical carcinoma (UCC) takes a average of 25-30 years; the research of this vaccine have begun in 2000. It is evident that the scientific efficacy of this new vaccine will be determined the years 2025 – 2030.
    HPV not causes definitely the (CCU); at the onset of this disease involves multiple risk factors, including the suspected HPV, but scientifically is proven by epidemiology and statistics that the sex is what generates this disease. Nix in 100.000 nuns found not any UCC.,.
    There are not scientific researchs; stadistic, epidemiologic, citologic, histologic, colpocopic and clinic to demostrate that the HPV produce the cervical cance, are publishing. whitout scierntific sustentance.
    To accept that a virus or a bacteria causes a infection disease must unfailingly fulfill the five Koch’s postulate
    1 – The agent must be present in every case of the disease and absent from healthy.
    2 – The agent must not appear in other diseases.
    3 – The agent to be isolated in pure culture from disease lesions.
    4 – The agent of causing disease in a susceptible animal being inoculated.
    5 – The agent must again be isolated lesions in experimental animals.
    Consequently, HPV not fulfill not any principle of Koch’s postulates. by not meeting this postulate, that is accepted as dogma in medicine, scientifically we must be ensure that the HPV is not the causative agent to the UCC..
    Until May 2013 Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting Syntem (VAERS) published that the vaccines against the HPV caused only in Unites States 138 muertes and 30020 adverse events; 947 disabled: 12 males, 924 females and 11sex unknown; 4050 advers graves: 106 males, 3883 females and 57 unknown sex; 527 abnormal PAP smears, 214 dysplasia cervical and cervical cancer 214. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System secure that only the !% to 10% are denounced
    The Vaccine efects advers reactions (VAERS) ensures that only complaint between 1% to 10% of the adverse effects produced by this evil vaccine;this figures shown are calculated according to the statements of the VAERS: to 10%.
    Dr. Harper, who contributed to the development of the vaccine by Merck, reports that the vaccine was not investigated in children under 15 years and the vaccine given to children under 11 years is a big public experiment.
    The vaccine was approved to give girls uncontaminated with HPV, Dr. Howenstinc ensures that the women are vaccinated with HPV contaminated, have the possibility to acquire a 44.6% CCU / Howenstine/james170.htm.
    Merck did not disclose that the vaccine was transgenic, the Sane Vax has discovered, which is transgenic because it has been found that the vaccine is contaminated with DNA recombinant vaccine Gardasil (DNArPVH) and has raised its concerns to the president of the FDA Margaret Hamburg. The FDA replied that the vaccine will not cause any damage transgenic
    A vaccinated child was ill with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease. 24 hours after vaccination and found that the aluminum adhered to DNArPVH, two years after vaccination and in autopsy 6 months after death in a New Zeland girl Jazmine Renata which had recibed this deadly vaccines
    Management time to get market approval of a drug the FDA is at least three years, it is a drug for cancer 15 years, but the authorization Merck had only six months and the European Medicines Agency (EMA in English) only 9 months: To introduce the vaccine are using the marketing of fear
    HPV is ubiquitous; lives in wild and domestic animals, pollute us from birth, is on the doorknobs, on towels, on nails, on fomites, in gloves and specula of gynecologists,. sexual intercourse is not the only means of contamination.
    HPV also lives in the 400 nm outermost of our skin and mucous membranes. ,
    If it live in our skin, our immune system produces cellular and humoral immunity is acquired or that our body is self vaccinatinge by PVHs living on our skin and mucous ..
    The PVHs is not distributed uniformly worldwide. It has been found that in Canada HPV 18 only reaches 3%; is more often HPV 31, in my country Peru no studies have determined that HPV types predominate; Gardasil contains 225 mcg. aluminum and Cervarix 500 mcg, that produce the Alzheimer, Parkinson and autism, produce too neurotoxic and immune system disorders (Blaylock 2012) and polisorbato 80, a powerful contraceptive, that in experimental animals produces sterility, atrophy of the testicles and disturbance organic and funtional of the organs of the reproduction; is carcinogenic and mutagenic; also contains sodium borate considered poison unused in medicinal preparations (NLM)
    Have been discovered to date 200 types of HPV; HPV is not infectious, contagious; the intercourse is not only that the persons is contaminated
    On 22-11-2010 FDA approved Gardasil for males aged 9 to 26 to prevent warts and cancer to the anus, is overkill
    For the reasons from deep Peru Huancayo, I believe that this vaccine is a fraud?, a robbery?, a swindle?, a rough joke?, a crime?, a shame?, a scam?
    The HPV is not scientifically proved for the moment that produce the UCC its effectiveness shall be verified just the years of 2025-2030.
    Dr. Godofredo Arauzo
    E mail:

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