Adjuvant radiation therapy alone for HPV related oropharyngeal cancers with high risk features

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Background Current standard of care for oropharyngeal cancers with positive surgical margins and/or extracapsular extension is adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. It is unknown whether HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer benefits from this treatment intensification. Objective To investigate the outcomes of HPV+ patients treated with adjuvant radiotherapy alone when chemoradiotherapy was indicated based on high risk pathological features. They were compared with high risk HPV+ patients treated with adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Methods All high risk HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer patients (9) who received radiotherapy alone were identified. We also identified 17 patients who received chemoradiotherapy as a comparison group. Median follow up time was 37.3 months. Results No local failures developed in adjuvant radiotherapy group. There was 1 distant recurrence in this cohort and 3 in CRT cohort. Regarding toxicity, 8 (47.1%) chemoradiotherapy patients had >10 lb. weight loss (p = 0.013), despite 75% of them having a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placed. No individuals in radiotherapy group experienced a >10 lb. weight loss and none required a gastrostomy tube. Conclusions This series provides preliminary evidence suggesting that the omission of concurrent chemotherapy to adjuvant radiotherapy may offer comparative local control rates with a lower toxicity profile in the setting of HPV+ patients with traditional high risk features.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168061
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016


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