Post-Op Radiotherapy Improved Survival In Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Interview with:

Michelle M. Chen, MD/MHS Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Stanford University

Dr. Michelle Chen

Michelle M. Chen, MD/MHS
Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery
Stanford University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The benefit of post-operative radiotherapy (PORT) for patients with T1-T2 N1 oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer without adverse pathologic features is unclear. Starting in 2014, the national guidelines no longer recommended consideration of post-operative radiotherapy for N1 oropharyngeal cancer patients, but left it as a consideration for N1 oral cavity cancer patients. We found that post-operative radiotherapy was associated with improved survival in both oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers, particularly in patients younger than 70 years of age and those with T2 disease. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our results suggest that PORT should be an important consideration for even low-risk patients younger than 70 years with OC and OP SCC, particularly those with T2N1 disease. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This study suggests that we should continue to study the effect of the current change in the NCCN guidelines. Avoiding the toxic effects of PORT in a low-risk human papillomavirus (HPV)–positive N1 OP SCC is important and aligns with changes toward de-escalating therapy for these patients. However, our study urges caution in de-escalating off trial for patients with pT2N1 OP SCC or those who are younger than 70 years of age and suggests that further studies are needed. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Chen MM, Harris JP, Hara W, Sirjani D, Divi V. Association of Postoperative Radiotherapy With Survival in Patients With N1 Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online November 10, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.3519

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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