Background: For human papilloma virus positive (HPV+) oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), management recommendations for patients with a single metastatic lymph node <6 cm in diameter remain nebulous, leading to treatment heterogeneity in this common subgroup of patients. Methods: We utilized the National Cancer Database to perform survival and multivariable analyses of patients with HPV+ OPSCC with one positive lymph node <6 cm and negative surgical margins. Results: We found that 5-year survival is comparable between patients who receive surgery and adjuvant radiation versus surgery alone. In multivariable analyses, we found no significant difference in the hazard ratio of overall survival after adjusting for various potential confounders. Conclusions: These data suggest that patients with margin-negative HPV+ OPSCC with a single positive lymph node <6 cm have comparable survival with or without adjuvant radiation. Future studies exploring outcomes for this specific group in randomized-controlled trials will be critical for further evaluating these initial observations.
- head and neck cancer
- oropharyngeal cancer