Background: Some patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) do not receive guideline-recommended postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) following primary transoral robotic surgery (TORS).
Methods: Three-hundred and sixty-four patients with treatment-naïve, HPV-associated OPSCC were recommended to receive PORT based on clinicopathological features following TORS. Patients were stratified based on if they received PORT. Oncologic outcomes were compared.
Results: The 3-year locoregional failure (LRF) was 32% in patients who did not receive PORT and 4% in patients who received PORT (P < .001). Despite increased LRF, avoiding PORT was not associated with increased 3-year distant metastasis rates (8% vs 4%, P = .56) or worse 3-year survival (95% vs 98%, P = .34). Recurrences in the surgery alone cohort varied between local and regional sites and were often successfully salvaged.
Conclusions: Patients with HPV-associated OPSCC who do not receive indicated PORT have an increased risk of LRF but similar survival due to high salvage rates.
Keywords: TORS; adjuvant therapy; head and neck cancer; oropharyngeal cancer; overall survival; radiation therapy; recurrence.
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.