Lack of standardized screening linked to an increased incidence of many HPV-related cancers


While the annual incidence of cervical cancer in the US is declining, the incidence of other cancers related to human papillomavirus (HPV) continues to rise. This comes from a study that will be presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in the 2021 meeting.

Since early detection of cervical cancer began in the 1950s, the incidence of the cancer has continued to decline, investigator Cheng-I Liao of the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan said at a news conference.

Dr. However, Liao noted a lack of research into other HPV-related cancers, including oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), anal / rectal SCC, vulvar SCC, vaginal SCC, cervical cancer, and penile SCC.

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With this in mind, Dr. Liao and colleagues used population data between 2001 and 2017 to assess the incidence of HPV-related cancer in the United States. Data from 657,317 subjects from the United States Cancer Statistics database were included.

Cervical cancer accounted for 52% of HPV-related cancers in women, although the incidence decreased by about 1% per year. Women aged 20 to 24 years had a greater decrease in annual incidence than women aged 25 to 29 or 30 to 34 years – 4.63%, 1.65% and 1.07%, respectively.

Oropharyngeal SCC accounted for 80% of all HPV-related cancers diagnosed in men and was five times more common in men than women.

In men and women, the incidence of HPV-related cancers without standardized screening (all but cervical cancer) increased by 1% to 3% per year, said Dr. Liao.

In women over 50 years of age, the incidence of anal / rectal SCC increased by 3.55% per year, while the incidence of cervical cancer decreased by 1.53% per year. The incidence of female anal / rectal SCC is expected to exceed the incidence of cervical cancer in 5 years, said Dr. Liao.

“Without standardized screening, HPV-related cancers such as oropharyngeal cancers and anal / rectal cancers will increase,” said Dr. Liao in a press release. “To reduce these trends and achieve success comparable to what we see in cervical cancer, we need to develop effective screening strategies and determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in these patient populations.”

Disclosure: A study author stated links with biotech, pharmaceutical, and / or device companies. For a full list of the authors’ information, see the original reference.

Read more from Cancer Therapy ConsultantReporting on the ASCO 2021 meeting on the conference page.


Liao CI, Caesar MA, Chan C. et al. HPV-Associated Cancers in the US Over the Last 15 Years: Did Screening or Vaccination Make a Difference? J Clin Oncol. 2021; 39: (Supplement 15; abstr. 107). doi: 10.1200 / JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.107


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