Prognostic Value of p16 Status on the Development of a Complete Response in Involved Oropharynx Cancer Neck Nodes After Cisplatin-Based Chemoradiation: A Secondary Analysis of NRG Oncology RTOG 0129

Thomas J. Galloway, Qiang Zhang, Phuc Felix Nguyen-Tan, David I. Rosenthal, Denis Soulieres, André Fortin, Craig L. Silverman, Megan E Daly, John A. Ridge, J. Alexander Hammond, Quynh Thu Le

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Purpose: To determine the relationship between p16 status and the regional response of patients with node-positive oropharynx cancer treated on NRG Oncology RTOG 0129. Methods and Materials: Patients with N1-N3 oropharynx cancer and known p16 status who underwent treatment on RTOG 0129 were analyzed. Pathologic complete response (pCR) rates in patients treated with a postchemoradiation neck dissection (with p16-positive or p16-negative cancer) were compared by Fisher exact test. Patients managed expectantly were compared with those treated with a neck dissection. Results: Ninety-nine (34%) of 292 patients with node-positive oropharynx cancer and known p16 status underwent a posttreatment neck dissection (p16-positive: n=69; p16-negative: n=30). The remaining 193 patients with malignant lymphadenopathy at diagnosis were observed. Neck dissection was performed a median of 70 (range, 17-169) days after completion of chemoradiation. Neither the pretreatment nodal stage (P=.71) nor the postradiation, pre-neck dissection clinical/radiographic neck assessment (P=.42) differed by p16 status. A pCR was more common among p16-positive patients (78%) than p16-negative patients (53%, . P=.02) and was associated with a reduced incidence of local-regional failure (hazard ratio 0.33, . P=.003). On multivariate analysis of local-regional failure, a test for interaction between pCR and p16 status was not significant (P=.37). One-hundred ninety-three (66%) of 292 of initially node-positive patients were managed without a posttreatment neck dissection. Development of a clinical (cCR) was not significantly influenced by p16-status (P=.42). Observed patients with a clinical nodal CR had disease control outcomes similar to those in patients with a pCR neck dissection. Conclusions: Patients with p16-positive tumors had significantly higher pCR and locoregional control rates than those with p16-negative tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 16 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation
  • Cancer Research

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