Clinical outcomes and prognostic factors in cisplatin versus cetuximab chemoradiation for locally advanced p16 positive oropharyngeal carcinoma.

Barney CL, Walston S, Zamora P, Healy EH, Nolan N, Diavolitsis VM, Neki A, Rupert R, Savvides P, Agrawal A, Old M, Ozer E, Carrau R, Kang S, Rocco J, Teknos T, Grecula JC, Wobb J, Mitchell D, Blakaj D, Bhatt AD
Oral Oncol 79 9-14 04/01/2018


OBJECTIVES: Randomized trials evaluating cisplatin versus cetuximab chemoradiation (CRT) for p16+ oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) have yet to report preliminary data. Meanwhile, as a preemptive step toward morbidity reduction, the off-trial use of cetuximab in p16+ patients is increasing, even in those who could potentially tolerate cisplatin. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of cisplatin versus cetuximab CRT in the treatment of p16+ OPC and to identify prognostic factors and predictors of tumor response.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cases of p16+ OPC treated with cisplatin or cetuximab CRT at our institution from 2010 to 2014 were identified. Recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) classification was used to determine low-risk (LR-RPA) and intermediate-risk (IR-RPA) groups. Log-rank/Kaplan-Meier and Cox Regression methods were used to compare groups.

RESULTS: We identified 205 patients who received cisplatin (n = 137) or cetuximab (n = 68) CRT in the definitive (n = 178) or postoperative (n = 27) setting. Median follow-up was 3 years. Cisplatin improved 3-year locoregional control (LRC) [92.7 vs 65.4%], distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) [88.3 vs 71.2%], recurrence-free survival (RFS) [86.6 vs 50.6%], and overall survival (OS) [92.6 vs 72.2%] compared to cetuximab [all p < .001]. Concurrent cisplatin improved 3-year OS for LR-RPA (97.1 vs 80.3%, p < .001) and IR-RPA (97.1 vs 80.3%, p < .001) groupings.

CONCLUSION: When treating p16+ OPC with CRT, the threshold for substitution of cisplatin with cetuximab should be maintained appropriately high in order to prolong survival times and optimize locoregional and distant tumor control. When cetuximab is used in cisplatin-ineligible patients, altered fractionation RT should be considered in an effort to improve LRC.

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