HPV16 DNA Status Is a Strong Prognosticator of Loco-Regional Control After Postoperative Radiochemotherapy of Locally Advanced Oropharyngeal Carcinoma: Results From a Multicentre Explorative Study of the German Cancer Consortium Radiation Oncology Group (DKTK-ROG)

Radiother Oncol. 2014 Dec;113(3):317-23. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2014.11.011. Epub 2014 Dec 2.


Objective: To investigate the impact of HPV status in patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), who received surgery and cisplatin-based postoperative radiochemotherapy.

Materials and methods: For 221 patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the hypopharynx, oropharynx or oral cavity treated at the 8 partner sites of the German Cancer Consortium, the impact of HPV DNA, p16 overexpression and p53 expression on outcome were retrospectively analysed. The primary endpoint was loco-regional tumour control; secondary endpoints were distant metastases and overall survival.

Results: In the total patient population, univariate analyses revealed a significant impact of HPV16 DNA positivity, p16 overexpression, p53 positivity and tumour site on loco-regional tumour control. Multivariate analysis stratified for tumour site showed that positive HPV 16 DNA status correlated with loco-regional tumour control in patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma (p=0.02) but not in the oral cavity carcinoma group. Multivariate evaluation of the secondary endpoints in the total population revealed a significant association of HPV16 DNA positivity with overall survival (p<0.01) but not with distant metastases.

Conclusions: HPV16 DNA status appears to be a strong prognosticator of loco-regional tumour control after postoperative cisplatin-based radiochemotherapy of locally advanced oropharyngeal carcinoma and is now being explored in a prospective validation trial.

Keywords: DKTK-ROG; HNSCC; HPV; Postoperative radiochemotherapy; p16; p53.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Chemoradiotherapy / methods
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • DNA