Pathologic Markers in Surgically Treated HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer: Retrospective Study, Systematic Review, and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Objective:

Human papillomavirus–associated (HPV) oropharyngeal cancer is a unique clinical entity whose incidence is increasing. It is controversial whether traditional pathologic markers of aggressive head and neck cancer also apply in surgically treated HPV-associated disease.

Study Design:

Retrospective study, systematic review, and meta-analysis

Data Sources:

PubMed and Cochrane review.

Review Methods:

PubMed and Cochrane review were searched for published articles on surgically treated HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer. Eligible studies were included in a meta-analysis of survival using several clinicopathologic markers as predictors. Surgically treated HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer patients at our institution were studied retrospectively and added to the meta-analysis.

Results:

Eight published reports, plus our retrospective series, were included in the meta-analysis. This showed significant impact on event-free survival for T stage, nodal number, perineural invasion, and lymphovascular invasion (all P < .05) but not for N stage extracapsular extension (P = ns).

Conclusions:

While many traditional clinico-pathologic markers of aggressive disease in head and neck cancer also impact survival in surgically treated HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer, extracapsular extension may be less important.

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