Outcomes of HPV-Negative Oropharyngeal Cancer Treated With Transoral Robotic Surgery


Objective: The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is increasing secondary to human papillomavirus (HPV)-related disease. Despite this, outcomes of patients with HPV-negative OPSCC undergoing transoral robotic surgery (TORS) are largely unknown.

Study design: Analysis of the National Cancer Database (NCDB).

Setting: Not applicable.

Methods: The 2015 participant user file from the NCDB was analyzed between 2010 and 2015 for patients with OPSCC who underwent TORS and neck dissection. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to estimate overall survival of the study population. Univariable Cox survival analyses was used to determine significant associations between demographic, tumor, and treatment characteristics and overall survival (OS).

Results: There were 164 patients (124 male and 40 female) with a mean age of 58 years (30-89 years). Median follow-up was 34 months. Five-year OS was 78% (95% CI, 70%-86%). Patients with early stage disease (pT1-2, N0-1) had significantly improved OS compared to patients with advanced T- or N-stage disease (log-rank 0.011; 5-year OS: 88% [95% CI, 78%-98%] vs 66% [95% CI, 50%-82%]).

Conclusion: Very few patients in the NCDB underwent TORS for HPV-negative OPSCC, but those who did had favorable outcomes, especially in early stage disease. Based on these findings, TORS may be considered in the treatment algorithm for patients with HPV-negative OPSCC.