Importance: Clinical practice regarding posttreatment radiologic surveillance for patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC) is neither adapted to individual patient risk nor fully evidence based.
Objectives: To construct a microsimulation model for posttreatment OPC progression and use it to optimize surveillance strategies while accounting for both tumor stage and human papillomavirus (HPV) status.
Design, setting, and participants: In this decision analytical modeling study, a Markov model of 3-year posttreatment patient trajectories was created. The training data source was the American College of Surgeon's National Cancer Database from 2010 to 2015. The external validation data set was the 2016 International Collaboration on Oropharyngeal Cancer Network for Staging (ICON-S) study. Training data comprised 2159 patients with OPC treated with primary radiotherapy who had known HPV status and disease staging information. Patients with American Joint Committee on Cancer, 7th edition stage III to IVB disease and those with clinical metastases during the time of primary treatment were included. Data were analyzed from August 1 to October 31, 2020.
Main outcomes and measures: Main outcomes included disease stage and HPV status, specific disease transition probabilities, and latency of surveillance regimens, defined as time between recurrence incidence and disease discovery.
Results: Training data consisted of 2159 total patients (1708 men [79.1%]; median age, 59.6 years [range, 40-90 years]; 401 with stage III disease, 1415 with stage IVA disease, and 343 with stage IVB disease). Cohorts predominantly had HPV-negative disease (1606 [74.4%]). With model-optimized regimens, recurrent disease was discovered a mean of 0.6 months (95% CI, 0.5-0.8 months) earlier than with a standard surveillance regimen based on current clinical guidelines. Recurrent disease was discovered using the optimized regimens without significant reduction in sensitivity. Compared with strategies based on reimbursement guidelines, the model-optimized regimens found disease a mean of 1.8 months (95% CI, 1.3-2.3 months) earlier.
Conclusions and relevance: Optimized, risk-stratified surveillance regimens consistently outperformed nonoptimized strategies. These gains were obtained without requiring any additional imaging studies. This approach to risk-stratified surveillance optimization is generalizable to a broad range of tumor types and risk factors.