Definitive Surgical Therapy after Open Neck Biopsy for HPV-Related Oropharyngeal Cancer

Joseph Zenga, Evan M. Graboyes, Bruce H. Haughey, Randal C. Paniello, Mitra Mehrad, James S. Lewis, Wade L. Thorstad, Brian Nussenbaum, Jason T. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective To determine the impact of prior open neck biopsy on the prognosis of patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) who are subsequently treated with a definitive surgical paradigm, including adjuvant therapy when indicated. Study Design Retrospective cohort. Setting Tertiary care university hospital. Subjects and Methods Patients with open neck biopsies who were treated with definitive surgery, with or without adjuvant therapy, for HPV-related OPSCC between 1998 and 2012 were compared with a matched control group who did not undergo open neck biopsy. Outcomes were disease-free survival, overall survival, disease-specific survival, incidence of tumor deposit in dermal scar, patterns of recurrence, and neck dissection complications. Results Forty-five patients who underwent open neck biopsy were compared with 90 matched controls. Tumor deposits in dermal scars from the prior open neck biopsy were found in 3 patients (7%) during completion neck dissection. Overall complications of the neck dissection were not significantly increased in the open biopsy group over matched controls (20% vs 12%, respectively; P >.05). Five-year Kaplan-Meier estimates for disease-free survival, overall survival, and disease-specific survival were not significantly different between the open biopsy and control groups (93% vs 91%, 98% vs 97%, 98% vs 99%, respectively; all P >.05). Recurrence rates were also not significantly different between groups. Conclusions Patients with HPV-related OPSCC who have undergone a prior open neck biopsy can be successfully treated with a definitive surgical paradigm. Although needle biopsy is preferable to establish a diagnosis, previous open neck biopsy does not affect prognosis in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-666
Number of pages10
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • HPV
  • TLM
  • excisional biopsy
  • human papillomavirus
  • incisional biopsy
  • open neck biopsy
  • oropharyngeal carcinoma
  • p16
  • transoral surgery


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