Outcomes of Patients with Single-Node Metastasis of Human Papillomavirus-Related Oropharyngeal Cancer Treated with Transoral Surgery

Stephanie Y. Chen, Parul Sinha, Aisling Last, Abhinav Ettyreddy, Dorina Kallogjeri, Patrik Pipkorn, Jason T. Rich, Jose P. Zevallos, Randal Paniello, Sidharth V. Puram, Katheryn Van Abel, Eric J. Moore, Peter Oppelt, Kevin Palka, Douglas Adkins, Mackenzie Daly, Hiram Gay, Wade L. Thorstad, Ryan S. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Importance: Regional lymph node metastasis remains an important prognostic factor in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Although survival among patients with regional metastasis in human papillomavirus (HPV)-related OPSCC is more favorable compared with patients who are HPV negative, prognostic variables associated with failure in patients with single-node metastasis are not known. Objective: To evaluate recurrence and survival in patients with HPV-related OPSCC with single-lymph node metastasis treated with transoral surgery. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective cohort study was conducted of 207 adults with newly diagnosed p16-positive OPSCC and pathology-confirmed single-node disease who underwent surgical resection with or without adjuvant therapy at 2 tertiary academic medical centers from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2016. Statistical analysis was performed from September 1, 2018, to September 1, 2020. Interventions: Surgery alone (n = 59), surgery with adjuvant radiation (n = 75), or surgery with adjuvant chemoradiation (n = 73). Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was regional recurrence. Secondary outcomes included overall survival, any recurrence, and identification of factors associated with regional recurrence and overall survival. Results: Among 207 patients, 178 (86%) were men, with a median age of 57 years (range, 35-82 years) at the time of surgery. Median follow-up was 36.2 months (range, 7-127 months). Regional recurrence occurred in 11 patients (5%). Of these, 1 patient (9%) was lost to follow-up after diagnosis, 1 (9%) was treated with palliative chemotherapy, and 9 (82%) were treated with curative intent. Ultimately, 7 patients received successful salvage treatment, and 3 died with disease. Overall, there were 21 patients (10%) with any recurrence, with 4 patients (19%) experiencing local recurrence, 11 (52%) experiencing regional recurrence, and 6 (29%) experiencing distant metastasis. The 5-year overall survival was 95% (95% CI, 89%-98%) for all patients. Older age (odds ratio [OR], 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1-1.2), advanced T stage (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 0.9-14.0), and positive margins (OR, 10.9; 95% CI, 1.8-67.5) were associated with increased regional recurrence. Extranodal extension (OR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.04-0.8), lymph node size greater than 3 cm (OR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.1-0.7), and adjuvant therapy (OR, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.02-0.4) were associated with decreased regional recurrence. Advanced comorbidities (hazard ratio, 6.20; 95% CI, 1.4-27.7), lymphovascular invasion (hazard ratio, 4.7; 95% CI, 1.0-21.2), and regional recurrence (hazard ratio, 16.0; 95% CI, 3.1-82.0) were associated with worse overall survival. Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this cohort study suggest that patients with HPV-related OPSCC and single-node disease undergoing surgical resection with or without adjuvant treatment have excellent survival. Adjuvant therapy appears to improve regional control. Among patients with regional recurrence of OPSCC, there is a high rate of successful salvage treatment..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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