Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A cost-utility analysis of cervical cancer vaccination in preadolescent Canadian females

Andrea M Anonychuk12*, Chris T Bauch3, Maraki Fikre Merid4, Georges Van Kriekinge5 and Nadia Demarteau5

Author Affiliations

1 Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 Statistics & Epidemiology, Medical Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline Canada, Mississauga, ON, Canada

3 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada

4 Department of Health Policy and Management Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

5 Health Economics, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Rixensart, Belgium

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:401  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-401

Published: 31 October 2009



Despite the fact that approximately 70% of Canadian women undergo cervical cancer screening at least once every 3 years, approximately 1,300 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and approximately 380 died from it in 2008. This study estimates the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of vaccinating 12-year old Canadian females with an AS04-adjuvanted cervical cancer vaccine. The indirect effect of vaccination, via herd immunity, is also estimated.


A 12-health-state 1-year-cycle Markov model was developed to estimate lifetime HPV related events for a cohort of 12-year old females. Annual transition probabilities between health-states were derived from published literature and Canadian population statistics. The model was calibrated using Canadian cancer statistics. From a healthcare perspective, the cost-effectiveness of introducing a vaccine with efficacy against HPV-16/18 and evidence of cross-protection against other oncogenic HPV types was evaluated in a population undergoing current screening practices. The base-case analysis included 70% screening coverage, 75% vaccination coverage, $135/dose for vaccine, and 3% discount rate on future costs and health effects. Conservative herd immunity effects were taken into account by estimated HPV incidence using a mathematical model parameterized by reported age-stratified sexual mixing data. Sensitivity analyses were performed to address parameter uncertainties.


Vaccinating 12-year old females (n = 100,000) was estimated to prevent between 390-633 undiscounted cervical cancer cases (reduction of 47%-77%) and 168-275 undiscounted deaths (48%-78%) over their lifetime, depending on whether or not herd immunity and cross-protection against other oncogenic HPV types were included. Vaccination was estimated to cost $18,672-$31,687 per QALY-gained, the lower range representing inclusion of cross-protective efficacy and herd immunity. The cost per QALY-gained was most sensitive to duration of vaccine protection, discount rate, and the correlation between probability of screening and probability of vaccination.


In the context of current screening patterns, vaccination of 12-year old Canadian females with an ASO4-ajuvanted cervical cancer vaccine is estimated to significantly reduce cervical cancer and mortality, and is a cost-effective option. However, the economic attractiveness of vaccination is impacted by the vaccine's duration of protection and the discount rate used in the analysis.