Is 2045 the best we can do? Mitigating the HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer epidemic

Ari Schuman, Karen S. Anderson, Andrew T. Day, Jay Ferrell, Erich M. Sturgis, Kristina R. Dahlstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) will be among the most common cancers in men by 2045 due to a rapid rise in human papillomavirus (HPV)–related OPC. Those who survive their cancer often suffer life-long treatment effects and early death. HPV vaccination could prevent virtually all HPV-related cancers but is not an effective preventive strategy for those already exposed. Without a dramatic increase in vaccine uptake in the U.S., HPV vaccination will have a negligible effect on OPC incidence through 2045 and no substantial impact until 2060. Additionally, targeted screening for earlier diagnosis may soon be feasible for those inadequately protected by vaccination. Areas covered: PubMed search for English-language articles related to incidence, screening, and prevention of HPV-related malignancies, focused on OPC in the U.S. Expert opinion: HPV-related OPC incidence will continue to increase for the foreseeable future with prophylactic vaccination offering no substantial public health impact for decades. Consequently, we must rapidly increase vaccination rates and develop screening methods to identify high-risk individuals. Such individuals would be eligible for potential preventive treatments and screening to diagnose early-stage HPV-related OPC allowing less morbid treatments. These methods will bridge the population into an era of decreasing incidence after vaccination takes effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-761
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Review of Anticancer Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022


  • Cancer screening
  • HPV vaccine
  • cancer early detection
  • cell-free nucleic acids
  • early diagnosis of cancer
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • oropharyngeal neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Oncology


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