Risk and response adapted de-intensified treatment for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer: Optima paradigm expanded experience

Oral Oncol. 2021 Nov:122:105566. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2021.105566. Epub 2021 Oct 18.


Background: Favorable prognosis for Human papillomavirus-associated (HPV+) oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) led to investigation of response-adaptive de-escalation, yet long-term outcomes are unknown. We present expanded experience and follow-up of risk/response adaptive treatment de-intensification in HPV+ OPC.

Methods: A phase 2 trial (OPTIMA) and subsequent cohort of sequential off-protocol patients treated from September 2014 to November 2018 at the University of Chicago were reviewed. Eligible patients had T3-T4 or N2-3 (AJCC 7th edition) HPV+ OPC. Patients were stratified by risk: High-risk (HR) (T4, ≥N2c, or >10PYH), all others low-risk (LR). Induction chemotherapy (IC) included 3 cycles of carboplatin and nab-paclitaxel (OPTIMA) or paclitaxel (off-protocol). LR with ≥50% response received low-dose radiotherapy (RT) alone to 50 Gy (RT50). LR with 30-50% response and HR with ≥50% response received intermediate-dose chemoradiotherapy (CRT) to 45 Gy (CRT45). All others received full-dose CRT to 75 Gy (CRT75).

Results: 91 patients consented and 90 patients were treated, of which 31% had >10PYH, 34% had T3/4 disease, and 94% had N2b/N2c/N3 disease. 49% were LR and 51% were HR. Overall response rate to induction was 88%. De-escalated treatment was administered to 83%. Median follow-up was 4.2 years. Five-year OS, PFS, LRC, and DC were 90% (95% CI 81,95), 90% (95% CI 80,95), 96% (95% CI 90,99), and 96% (88,99) respectively. G-tube placement rates in RT50, CRT45, and CRT75 were 3%, 33%, and 80% respectively (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Risk/response adaptive de-escalated treatment for an inclusive cohort of HPV+ OPC demonstrates excellent survival with reduced toxicity with long-term follow-up.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Head and neck cancer; Human papillomavirus; Radiation therapy; Treatment de-intensification.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms* / virology
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / therapy