Outcomes of surgically treated human papillomavirus–related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma with N3 disease

Joseph Zenga, Bruce H. Haughey, Ryan S. Jackson, Douglas R. Adkins, John Aranake-Chrisinger, Neel Bhatt, Hiram A. Gay, Dorina Kallogjeri, Eliot J. Martin, Eric J. Moore, Randal C. Paniello, Jason T. Rich, Wade L. Thorstad, Brian Nussenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To evaluate outcomes for patients with pathological N3 (pN3) neck disease from human papillomavirus (HPV)–related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) and determine variables predictive of survival. Study Design: Retrospective case series with chart review. Methods: This study was conducted between 1998 and 2013 and included patients with HPV-related OPSCC treated with surgery with or without adjuvant therapy and who had pN3 nodal disease. The primary outcome was disease-specific survival (DSS). Secondary outcomes included overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), adverse events, and gastrostomy tube rates. Results: Thirty-nine patients were included, of whom 36 (90%) underwent adjuvant therapy. Median follow-up was 39 months (range, 2–147 months). Mean age was 56 years, and 87% were male. Seventeen patients (44%) underwent selective neck dissection, whereas six (15%) underwent radical (n = 2) or extended radical (n = 4) neck dissection. Ninety-two percent had extracapsular extension. Five-year Kaplan-Meier estimated DSS, OS, and DFS were 89% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 79%–99%), 87% (95% CI: 75%–99%), and 84% (95% CI: 72%–96%), respectively. The disease recurrence rate was 10% (5% regional, 5% distant metastasis). Patients with less than 5 pathologically positive lymph nodes (P =.041) had improved DFS. Conclusions: Patients with HPV-related OPSCC and pN3 nodal disease treated with surgery and adjuvant therapy have very favorable long-term survival and regional control. Patients with five or more pathologically positive lymph nodes may be at higher risk for recurrence. Level of Evidence: 4. Laryngoscope, 127:2033–2037, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2033-2037
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Oropharyngeal neoplasms
  • human papillomavirus
  • squamous cell carcinoma


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