BACKGROUND: The significance of extracapsular extension (ECE) and adjuvant treatment paradigm in patients with surgically managed human papillomavirus-positive (HPV+) oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) is debated.METHODS: National, hospital-based, retrospective cohort study of 2663 patients pN+ HPV+ OPC who underwent primary surgery.RESULTS: Patients with ECE had a 1.74-times risk of death (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.26-2.40, p=0.001) compared to patients without ECE. Among patients with pN1, ECE-positive disease, risk of overall mortality was similar across treatment paradigms (surgery alone: ref; adjuvant radiation therapy [RT]: aHR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.36-1.85; p=0.62; adjuvant CRT: aHR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.34-1.32; p=0.24). Patients with pN2 ECE-positive disease treated with adjuvant RT alone exhibited similar risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio: 1.04, 95% CI: 0.24-4.47, p=0.96) compared to adjuvant chemoradiation (CRT). In patients with advanced, ECE-positive disease (e.g., pT3-T4pN2), adjuvant CRT did not reduce the risk of overall mortality relative to adjuvant RT.CONCLUSION: Although pathologic ECE negatively predicts for survival in patients with HPV+ OPC, our analyses support expansion of postoperative de-intensification clinical trial eligibility criteria in patients with ECE-positive disease.
View details for DOI 10.1002/hed.26825
View details for PubMedID 34331477