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Title: Temporal Nodal Regression and Regional Control After Primary Radiation Therapy for N2-N3 Head-and-Neck Cancer Stratified by HPV Status

Purpose: To compare the temporal lymph node (LN) regression and regional control (RC) after primary chemoradiation therapy/radiation therapy in human papillomavirus-related [HPV(+)] versus human papillomavirus-unrelated [HPV(−)] head-and-neck cancer (HNC). Methods and Materials: All cases of N2-N3 HNC treated with radiation therapy/chemoradiation therapy between 2003 and 2009 were reviewed. Human papillomavirus status was ascertained by p16 staining on all available oropharyngeal cancers. Larynx/hypopharynx cancers were considered HPV(−). Initial radiologic complete nodal response (CR) (≤1.0 cm 8-12 weeks after treatment), ultimate LN resolution, and RC were compared between HPV(+) and HPV(−) HNC. Multivariate analysis identified outcome predictors. Results: A total of 257 HPV(+) and 236 HPV(−) HNCs were identified. The initial LN size was larger (mean, 2.9 cm vs 2.5 cm; P<.01) with a higher proportion of cystic LNs (38% vs 6%, P<.01) in HPV(+) versus HPV(−) HNC. CR was achieved is 125 HPV(+) HNCs (49%) and 129 HPV(−) HNCs (55%) (P=.18). The mean post treatment largest LN was 36% of the original size in the HPV(+) group and 41% in the HPV(−) group (P<.01). The actuarial LN resolution was similar in the HPV(+) and HPV(−) groups at 12 weeks (42% and 43%, respectively), but it was higher in the HPV(+) groupmore » than in the HPV(−) group at 36 weeks (90% vs 77%, P<.01). The median follow-up period was 3.6 years. The 3-year RC rate was higher in the HPV(−) CR cases versus non-CR cases (92% vs 63%, P<.01) but was not different in the HPV(+) CR cases versus non-CR cases (98% vs 92%, P=.14). On multivariate analysis, HPV(+) status predicted ultimate LN resolution (odds ratio, 1.4 [95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.7]; P<.01) and RC (hazard ratio, 0.3 [95% confidence interval 0.2-0.6]; P<.01). Conclusions: HPV(+) LNs involute more quickly than HPV(−) LNs but undergo a more prolonged process to eventual CR beyond the time of initial assessment at 8 to 12 weeks after treatment. Post radiation neck dissection is advisable for all non-CR HPV(−)/non-CR N3 HPV(+) cases, but it may be avoided for selected non-CR N2 HPV(+) cases with a significant LN involution if they can undergo continued imaging surveillance. The role of positron emission tomography for response assessment should be investigated.« less
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  1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
  2. Department of Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
  3. Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
  4. Division of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
  5. Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery/Surgical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
  6. Department of Radiology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
  7. Department of Pathology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics; Journal Volume: 87; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States