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.
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