Clinical Edge

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Race and Association with HPV-Related Cancers

Sex Transm Dis; 2016 Apr; Rettig, Fakhry, et al

There may be a link between racial differences in immune markers of HPV exposure and the epidemiology of HPV-related cancers and differences in patterns of sexual behaviors, and these differences may account for why oropharyngeal cancer primarily affects whites, but cervical cancer is more common among blacks. This according to a study of 781 women, including 620 white (79%) and 161 black (21%) women. Researchers found:

• Whites were less likely to report 5+ vaginal sex partners (prevalence ratio [PR]=0.86), but more likely to report 5+ oral sex partners (PR=2.38) compared with blacks.

• Seropositivity to most individual HPV types and at least 3 types was significantly lower in whites than in blacks (PR=0.62).

• HPV seropositivity was independently associated with younger age among blacks, but with sexual exposures among whites.

• Strength of serologic response to most HPV types significantly decreased with older age among blacks, but not among whites.

Citation: Rettig EM, Fakhry C, Rositch AF, et al. Race is associated with sexual behaviors and modifies the effect of age on human papillomavirus serostatus among perimenopausal women. Sex Transm Dis; 2016;43:231-234. doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000426.