Purpose: Human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is treatment-responsive. Definitive chemoradiation results in high cure rates but causes long-term toxicity and may represent overtreatment of some patients. This phase II trial evaluated whether complete clinical response (cCR) to induction chemotherapy (IC) could select patients with HPV-associated OPSCC for reduced radiation dose as a means of sparing late sequelae. Methods: Patients with HPV16 and/or p16-positive, stage III-IV OPSCC received three cycles of IC with cisplatin, paclitaxel, and cetuximab. Patients with primary-site cCR to IC received intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) 54 Gy with weekly cetuximab; those with less than cCR to IC at the primary site or nodes received 69.3 Gy and cetuximab to those regions. The primary end point was 2-year progression-free survival. Results: Of the 90 patients enrolled, 80 were evaluable. Their median age was 57 years (range, 35 to 73 years), with the majority having stage T1-3N0-N2b OPSCC and a history of ≤ 10 pack-years of cigarette smoking. Three cycles of IC were delivered to 77 of the 80 patients. Fifty-six patients (70%) achieved a primary-site cCR to IC and 51 patients continued to cetuximab with IMRT 54 Gy. After median follow-up of 35.4 months, 2-year progression-free survival and overall survival rates were 80% and 94%, respectively, for patients with primary-site cCR treated with 54 Gy of radiation (n = 51); 96% and 96%, respectively, for patients with < T4, < N2c, and ≤ 10 pack-year smoking history who were treated with ≤ 54 Gy of radiation (n = 27). At 12 months, significantly fewer patients treated with a radiation dose ≤ 54 Gy had difficulty swallowing solids (40% v 89%; P = .011) or had impaired nutrition (10% v 44%; P = .025). Conclusion: For IC responders, reduced-dose IMRT with concurrent cetuximab is worthy of further study in favorable-risk patients with HPV-associated OPSCC. Radiation dose reduction resulted in significantly improved swallowing and nutritional status.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research