11 Scopus citations


Background/Aim: Current guidelines derived from a pre-human papilloma virus (HPV) era in oropharyngeal cancer do not recommend routine surveillance imaging. We aimed to analyze the method of recurrence detection in HPV+ disease to determine a role for follow-up imaging. Patients and Methods: All HPV+ and HPV– oropharyngeal cancer patients treated at our institution from 2005-2016 with biopsy-proven recurrence were identified and their method of recurrence detection was analyzed. Results: A total of 16 HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer patients were identified to have recurrence, 12 (75%) of which experienced distant recurrence and 13 (81.3%) were detected asymptomatically with imaging at a median time of 19.7 months after initial treatment and verifying no residual disease. Twelve (75%) detections were with PET-CT. While HPV– patients (17 patients) also have a high rate of asymptomatic detection (16 patients, 94.1%), their 3-year post-recurrence survival was significantly lower at 6.5% compared to 83.6% for the HPV+ group (p<0.01). Conclusion: In HPV+ patients, a large proportion of failures are asymptomatic distant metastases, which occur beyond 6 months following treatment completion, and are detected with whole body imaging alone. In light of long term post-recurrence survival observed, this preliminary data suggests that routine surveillance imaging should be further studied for HPV+ disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1529
Number of pages5
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • CT
  • HPV
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • PET/CT
  • Recurrence detection
  • Surveillance imaging


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