40-year incidence trends for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in the United States

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, Matthew C. Simpson, Sean T. Massa, Eric Adjei Boakye, Jastin L. Antisdel, Mark A. Varvares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objectives To determine differences in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) incidence between 1975 and 2014 stratified by race, sex, and age. Materials and methods We obtained age-adjusted OPSCC incidence rates for race and sex groups from 1975 to 2014 using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 9 database. We defined OPSCC as cancers of the base of tongue, lingual/palatine tonsil, oropharynx, soft palate, uvula, and Waldeyer's ring. We used Joinpoint analyses to determine incidence trends for race/sex/age groupings. Results There were 38,624 oropharyngeal primary tumors in the analyses. Males accounted for 74% of sample population, and whites accounted for 84% of tumors. Overall, there was a 57.3% increase in incidence of oropharyngeal between 1975 and 2014. For blacks and whites, average incidence was lower for females than males. Rates for black males aged ≥50 years was highest for most of the follow-up time but decreased sharply around 1988 and were surpassed by the significant increase in incidence in white males aged 50–59 (1995–2014 APC = 4.07, p < 0.001) and ≥60 years (2002–2014 APC = 4.25, p < 0.001). For males aged ≥60, whites had higher rates than blacks starting in 2010. OPSCC incidence in White males (10.99 per 100,000 person-years) surpassed rates in Blacks (10.14 per 100,000 person-years) beginning in 2008. Conclusion OPSCC has significantly increased in the United States in the last 40 years. This overall increase in OPSCC can primarily be attributed to white males. OPSCC prevention and early detection efforts could target these demographic factors to decrease rising OPSCC incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-97
Number of pages8
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Annual percent changes
  • Cancer incidence and trends
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Joinpoint analysis
  • Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma
  • SEER


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