Research Papers:

Survival outcomes based on systemic agent used concurrently with radiation in human-papillomavirus associated oropharyngeal cancer

Vikas Mehta, Tara Moore-Medlin, Jose M. Flores, Xiaohui Ma, Oleksandr Ekshyyan and Cherie-Ann O. Nathan _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:70907-70915. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20197

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Vikas Mehta1, Tara Moore-Medlin1, Jose M. Flores2, Xiaohui Ma1, Oleksandr Ekshyyan1 and Cherie-Ann O. Nathan1

1Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Louisiana State University Health and Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, Shreveport, LA, USA

2Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

Correspondence to:

Cherie-Ann O. Nathan, email: [email protected]

Keywords: oropharyngeal carcinoma, human papillomavirus, cetuximab, cisplatin, survival outcomes

Received: March 14, 2017    Accepted: July 17, 2017    Published: August 10, 2017


Purpose: To investigate survival outcomes of patients treated with concurrent cetuximab and radiotherapy for primary management of both HPV positive and negative OPSCC, and compare the results to traditional platinum-based therapy. We hypothesize that the use of cetuximab in the HPV positive OPSCC patients will result in inferior survival based on tumor biological differences.

Study design: A single institution retrospective analysis of 304 patients. The primary outcomes of interest were 1) overall survival and 2) relapse free survival. Pearson Chi-square tests were used to compare proportions between subgroups. One-way analysis of variance was used to compare the continuous variable age between subgroups. Kaplan–Meier method was used to produce survival curves, and comparisons between survival curves were made using the log-rank test. The survival functions comparing subgroups of chemotherapy were analyzed using semi-parametric (i.e. Cox proportional hazards models) and fully parametric regression with Weibull distributions. Multivariable models were adjusted for age at diagnosis, gender, race, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and cancer stage.

Results: In the multivariable analysis, the hazard ratio for cetuximab compared to cisplatin or carboplatin/paclitaxel was HR=0.77[95% CI = 0.67, 0.90] in the HPV - group, suggesting more favorable outcomes for the patients on cetuximab in this group. However, in the HPV + cohort, the hazard ratio was 1.88 [95% CI = 1.42, 2.50] for those patients treated with cetuximab vs platinum-based therapy.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that cetuximab may have inferior outcomes in HPV-associated OPSCC compared to traditional platinum-based therapy.

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