The utility of cancer databases for oropharyngeal cancer studies is limited by lack of information on human papillomavirus (HPV) status. The purpose of this study was to develop a surrogate that can be used to adjust for the effect of HPV status on survival.The study cohort included 6419 patients diagnosed with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma between 2004 and 2012, identified in the National Cancer Database (NCDB). The HPV surrogate score was developed using a logistic regression model predicting HPV-positive status.The HPV surrogate score was predictive of HPV status (area under the curve [AUC] 0.73; accuracy of 70.4%). Similar to HPV-positive tumors, HPV surrogate positive tumors were associated with improved overall survival (OS; hazard ratio [HR] 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.59-0.91; P = .005), after adjusting for important covariates.The HPV surrogate score is useful for adjusting for the effect of HPV status on survival in studies utilizing cancer databases.
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