The following article features coverage from the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

While the annual incidence of cervical cancer in the United States is on the decline, the incidence of other cancers related to human papillomavirus (HPV) continues to increase, according to a study being presented at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

Since cervical cancer screening began in the 1950s, the incidence of this cancer has continued to decline, investigator Cheng-I Liao, MD, of Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, said during a press presentation.

Dr Liao noted, however, that there is a lack of research on other HPV-related cancers, including oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), anal/rectal SCC, vulvar SCC, vaginal SCC, cervical carcinoma, and penile SCC.

Continue Reading

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

Cervical cancer made up 52% of HPV-related cancers in women, though the incidence decreased by about 1% per year. Women aged 20 to 24 years had a larger 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 made up 80% of all HPV-related cancers diagnosed in men and occurred 5 times as frequently in men as in women.

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

In women older than 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 projected to surpass cervical cancer incidence in 5 years, Dr Liao said.

“Without standardized screening, HPV-related cancers, such as oropharyngeal cancers and anal/rectal cancers, are increasing,” Dr. Liao said in a press release. “In order to reduce these trends and achieve success comparable to what we’re seeing with cervical cancer, we must develop effective screening strategies and determine vaccine efficacy in these patient populations.”

Disclosure: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. 

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s coverage of the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting by visiting the conference page.


Liao CI, Caesar MA, Chan C, et al. HPV-associated cancers in the United States over the last 15 years: Has screening or vaccination made any difference? J Clin Oncol. 2021;39:(suppl 15; abstr 107). doi:10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.107