Human papilloma virus-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in the elderly

Eesha Dave, William Su, Vishal Gupta, Brett Miles, Elizabeth Demicco, Theresa Soriano, Richard L. Bakst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background/Aim: Elderly patients with HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) represent an understudied cohort of the HPV epidemic. We aimed to investigate the clinical presentation, treatment tolerability and outcomes in patient's ≥ years old with HPV+ OPC. Patients and Methods: We identified all patients aged 65 and older treated at our Institution with HPV+ OPC and analyzed patient demographics, disease characteristics, treatment modalities, toxicities, treatment failures, and survival. Charlson comorbidity index was calculated for each patient. Results: 43 patients were identified with a mean age of median age was 70.0 (range 65- 86). The mean Charlson comorbidity index score for the cohort was 5.2. In total, 72.1% of patients received what was considered standard-of-care based on stage and pathological features. Nine point three percent of patients required RT-related treatment breaks with the majority being women (75%). Threeyear actuarial overall survival was 85.5% (95% CI: 71.4%- 100%) and 3-year disease-free survival was 67.3% (95% CI: 49.7-91.0%). Conclusion: This study presented one of the largest series to date evaluating HPV-related OPC in patients ≥65. Elderly individuals with HPV+ OPC have favorable overall survival with high treatment tolerability independent of Charlson co-morbidity score. Elderly patients should be considered for stage-appropriate care with omission of specific therapies based on absolute contraindications and patient preference, but not assumptions regarding tolerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1847-1851
Number of pages5
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Elderly
  • HPV
  • Head & neck cancer


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