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HPV-positive African-Americans with throat cancer have better outcomes

Mon, Apr 1, 2013

Oral Cancer News

Author: DrBicuspid Staff

African-Americans with throat cancer who are positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV) have better outcomes than African-Americans without HPV, according to a new study in Clinical Cancer Research (March 26, 2013).

African-Americans who are HPV-negative also fared worse than Caucasians both with and without HPV present in oropharyngeal cancer, concluded lead author Maria Worsham, PhD, from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and colleagues.

“This study adds to the mounting evidence of HPV as a racially-linked sexual behavior lifestyle risk factor impacting survival outcomes for both African-American and Caucasian patients with oropharyngeal cancer,” Worsham said in a statement about the study.

To compare survival outcomes in HPV-positive and HPV-negative African-Americans with oropharyngeal cancer, the researchers retrospectively evaluated 118 patients. Among the study group, 67 were HPV-negative and 51 were HPV-positive, and 42% of the patients were African-American.

The study results indicate the following, according to the researchers:

  • African-Americans are less likely to be HPV-positive.
  • Those older than 50 are less likely to be HPV-positive.
  • Those with late-stage oropharyngeal cancer are more likely to be unmarried and more likely to be HPV-positive.
  • HPV-negative patients had 2.7 times the risk of death compared to HPV-positive patients.
  • The HPV race groups differed, with significantly poorer survival for HPV-negative African-Americans versus HPV-positive African-Americans, HPV-positive Caucasians, and HPV-negative Caucasians.

Overall, the study showed that HPV has a substantial affect on overall survival in African-Americans with oropharyngeal cancer, Worsham and colleagues concluded.

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