The ongoing monitoring of HPV-associated cancers via the
National Program of Cancer Registries and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and
End Results program indicate a decrease in the US rates for cervical cancer,
yet disparities remain, according to data published in a recent Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report.
Data pooled from the high-quality population-based
cancer registry programs indicated that between 2004 and 2008, there were
12,080 HPV-associated cancers diagnosed annually among males and 21,290 among
Of the overall cases, cervical cancer was the most
common diagnosis (11,967 annually), followed by oropharyngeal cancer (11,726
annually). Compared with whites and non-Hispanics, blacks and Hispanics had the
highest rates for cervical and penile cancer. Conversely, vulvar cancer rates
were highest among whites and non-Hispanics.
Anal cancer rates were highest among females (1.8 per
100,000) vs. males (1.2 per 100,000). Specifically, the rates were highest
among white females and among black males.
HPV-associated cancer rates were highest among females
in West Virginia (16.3 per 100,000) and among males in Washington, D.C. (11.6
per 100,000). Rates in the lowest tertile for HPV-associated cancers were most
common in Maryland, Colorado and Utah, whereas rates in the highest tertile
were found in Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee.
The HPV vaccine will likely help decrease cervical
cancer rates further and reduce the disparities, the researchers wrote in
the report. Other HPV-associated cancers do not have approved screening
programs; therefore, HPV vaccines are important prevention tools to reduce the
incidence of non-cervical cancers.
In an accompanying editorial, CDC officials wrote,
Reasons for variations in rates of noncervical HPV-associated cancers by
race/ethnicity and state are not clear but might be attributable, in part, to
demographics, screening practices, tobacco use or other factors related to HPV
infection of persistence.
- CDC. MMWR. 2012;61:258-261.
- The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.