Racial and ethnic disparities in human papillomavirus-associated cancer burden with first-generation and second-generation human papillomavirus vaccines

Cancer. 2016 Jul 1;122(13):2057-66. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30007. Epub 2016 Apr 28.


Background: In the United States, the burden of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers varies by racial/ethnic group. HPV vaccination may provide opportunities for primary prevention of these cancers. Herein, the authors projected changes in HPV-associated cancer burden among racial/ethnic groups under various coverage assumptions with the available first-generation and second-generation HPV vaccines to evaluate changes in racial/ethnic disparities.

Methods: Cancer-specific mathematical models simulated the burden of 6 HPV-associated cancers. Model parameters, informed using national registries and epidemiological studies, reflected sex-specific, age-specific, and racial/ethnic-specific heterogeneities in HPV type distribution, cancer incidence, stage of disease at detection, and mortality. Model outcomes included the cumulative lifetime risks of developing and dying of 6 HPV-associated cancers. The level of racial/ethnic disparities was evaluated under each alternative HPV vaccine scenario using several metrics of social group disparity.

Results: HPV vaccination is expected to reduce the risks of developing and dying of HPV-associated cancers in all racial/ethnic groups as well as reduce the absolute degree of disparities. However, alternative metrics suggested that relative disparities would persist and in some scenarios worsen. For example, when assuming high uptake with the second-generation HPV vaccine, the lifetime risk of dying of an HPV-associated cancer for males decreased by approximately 60%, yet the relative disparity increased from 3.0 to 3.9.

Conclusions: HPV vaccines are expected to reduce the overall burden of HPV-associated cancers for all racial/ethnic groups and to reduce the absolute disparity gap. However, even with the second-generation vaccine, relative disparities will likely still exist and may widen if the underlying causes of these disparities remain unaddressed. Cancer 2016;122:2057-66. © 2016 American Cancer Society.

Keywords: health status disparities; human papillomavirus; neoplasms; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / ethnology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / mortality
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • United States / ethnology


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines