Most research on HPV-induced OPSCC, however, has focused on non-Hispanic whites, overlooking the Hispanic population, which is already the nation’s largest minority group, with 42 million individuals in 2005. Moreover, the Hispanic population is expected to triple in size by the year 2050. Dr. Thomas described the need to offer this growing population the best possible care. In order to help achieve this goal, she and her colleagues sought to determine disparities in survival outcome and clinical presentation between Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites. As physicians at the University of Miami Hospital, they took advantage of the fact that Miami has a very large Hispanic population, using the Hospital Tumor Registry Database to identify patients with OPSCC who presented between 2008 and 2014. The researchers identified 237 patients with OPSCC with well-documented HPV and/or p16 positive status. Of these, 167 were non-Hispanic whites and 70 were Hispanic. The demographics of the two groups were otherwise similar.
The patients had a mean age of 59 years. The majority of patients (84%) presented in advanced stages, and the majority (66%) had past or current history of alcohol use. The overall death rate in the study was 10%, and Dr. Thomas and colleagues found no significant difference between the Kaplan-Meier survival curves of non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics. Age was the only factor that had a significant effect on outcome, and this effect was similar in both groups.
Dr. Thomas did, however, identify some statistically significant differences between the groups in their presentation of disease. Specifically, 70% of Hispanic patients presented with primary disease, compared to 56% of non-Hispanic whites. Additionally, women represented a statistically significant larger proportion of HPV-positive Hispanic patients (26%) as compared with non-Hispanic whites (9%). Thus, the differences between the two groups were in the increased representation of women in the Hispanic group and the increased likelihood of primary disease in the tonsil region in the Hispanic group.