HPV-related oral cancer rate rising among white men
Article Thumbnail ImageMarch 8, 2011 -- While the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer among some ethnic groups in the U.S. have declined, rates of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oral cancer among white men have risen dramatically, according to research conducted by RTI International (Cancer Causes & Control, March 5, 2011).
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RTI researchers used surveillance, epidemiology, and end results program data for 58,204 cases diagnosed between 1977 and 2007 to evaluate oral cavity/pharyngeal cancer (OCPC) trends that may reflect changes in cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and HPV infection among different populations.

OCPC rates among men peaked during 1982 to 1986 before declining, most rapidly (46%) among blacks, the researchers found. Rates decreased least rapidly among white men, while declining at intermediate paces among other ethnic groups (Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics) and females.

Among the men during the recent 16-year time period, the annual percent change for HPV-unrelated sites was much steeper (-6.0%) among blacks than whites (-2.5%); for HPV-related sites, it was -1.7% among blacks and +3.3% among whites.

HPV-related rates rose rapidly among the white men born since the mid-1940s, tripling among those ages 25 to 44 and recently surpassing the black male rate, the researchers noted. The rise in HPV-related cancers among white men may reflect changes in sexual practices since the mid-1960s, they concluded.