Induction chemotherapy followed by concurrent chemoradiation versus concurrent chemoradiation alone in the definitive management of p16-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma with low-neck or N3 disease

Bhattasalia O, Han J, Thompson LDR, Buchschacher GL Jr, Abdalla IA, Iganeja S.
Oral Oncol. 2018 Mar;78:151-155.
Objective: The addition of induction chemotherapy (ICT) to concurrent chemoradiation (CCRT) has been investigated as a method of improving outcomes among patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Previous studies have consisted of heterogeneous populations with both p16-positive and p16- negative disease and varying extent of nodal disease burden. We evaluated the role of ICT in p16-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) at high-risk of distant failure.
Materials and methods: A retrospective review was conducted of 88 consecutive patients with p16-positive OPSCC with low-neck and/or N3 lymphadenopathy. Among these patients, 44 received ICT followed by CCRT, and 44 received CCRT alone with concurrent agents including Cisplatin, Carboplatin, and Cetuximab. Disease control and survival outcomes were reported after adjusting for age, T stage, N stage, and smoking status.
Results: Median follow-up for surviving patients was 47 (range: 13–115) months. Patients who received CCRT alone were older than those who received ICT (61 years vs. 56 years; p=0.02); the groups were otherwise similarly balanced. 3-year distant metastasis: 38% vs. 18% (adjusted hazard ratio (HR)=0.32 [0.13–0.82]; p=0.02). 3-year progression-free survival: 49% vs. 74% (adjusted HR=0.46 [0.22–0.93]; p=0.03). 3-year overall survival: 67% vs. 83% (adjusted HR=0.48 [0.21–1.12]; p=0.09).
Conclusion: Among patients with p16-positive OPSCC with low-neck and/or N3 lymphadenopathy, ICT followed by CCRT may reduce the risk for distant failure over CCRT alone and lead to improved progression-free survival. Future trials should concentrate on patients at the highest risk of distant metastasis in order to appropriately assess the benefit of ICT.
PubMed ID: 29496043
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