Viral Infection May Explain Racial Differences in Oral Cancer Death Rates

Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, July 31, 2009

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After scientists at the University of Maryland noticed that whites treated at their hospital for squamous cell head and neck cancers lived more than twice as long as black patients who received the same care at their hospital, they took a closer look. Further analysis revealed that the gap was almost entirely due to differences in survival among patients with cancer of the throat and tonsils, or oropharyngeal cancer.

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{snip} While half of the throat cancer patients had HPV-positive tumors, 98 percent of the positive tumors were from white patients, while a vast majority of black patients had HPV-negative tumors.

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