Objectives: Given the recent treatment deintensification clinical trials for Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal cancer, College of American Pathologists recommendation for HPV-testing of all oropharyngeal cancers and treatment disparities in head and neck cancer, determining factors related to HPV testing are exceedingly pertinent. Materials and Methods: We used the National Cancer Data Base, accounting for 70% of new cancer diagnoses. To reduce the heterogeneity due to the recent recommendation of HPV-testing, we used squamous cell oropharyngeal cancer patients from 2013 to 2015. We only used patients that have either reported HPV testing and non-testing (30.5% of the sample). We used a chi-square test to compare the factors among tested and untested patients and calculated the prevalence ratio for not tested to those tested with Poisson regression. As a sensitivity analysis, we used a fully Conditional Specification implemented by the MICE algorithm to impute missing variables. Results: Of the 24,241 oropharyngeal cancer patients with HPV testing data, 12% were not been tested for HPV. Across the study period, integrated network and low-volume hospitals had the lowest proportion of HPV testing from 2013 to 2015. In a multivariable analysis, compared to patients with private insurance, Medicaid (PR: 1.82; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.63–2.02) and uninsured (PR: 1.75; 95% CI: 1.52–2.01) patients were more likely not to be tested for HPV. We saw similar results in the imputed dataset, in which 12.5% of patients were not tested. Conclusions: This heterogeneity in testing is significant, given potential de-intensification of treatment for HPV-positive cancer. Future research should examine interventions in non-academic low-volume to ensure equitable treatment for all.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104609
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Disparities
  • HPV testing
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Socioeconomic status


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