Dr Garje on the Prognostic Value of HPV Status for Survival Outcomes in pSCC


Rohan Garje, MD, discusses the impact of human papillomavirus status on survival outcomes in penile squamous cell carcinoma.

Rohan Garje, MD, chief, Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute, discusses the impact of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection on survival outcomes for patients with penile squamous cell carcinoma (pSCC), according to findings from the National Cancer Database.

Although patients with pSCC have a risk profile and clinical course similar to that of other SCCs, the impact of HPV status on survival in pSCC remains uncertain, Garje begins.

To elucidate this, a retrospective study of median overall survival (OS) in patients with pSCC according to HPV status was conducted using the National Cancer Database, Garje states. The study identified a total of 1,371 men with penile cancer who were tested for HPV between 2004 and 2021, Garje details. Among them, 39.3% had HPV-positive disease, and 60.7% did not have an HPV infection. This distribution was irrespective of the stage, as all patients from stage I to stage IV were included, he notes, adding that patients were then subdivided into 2 groups based on HPV status.

Results from this analysis were presented at the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting and indicated that HPV infection in patients with pSCC is associated with improved survival, regardless of factors such as age, comorbidities, stage, and treatment modality, Garje reports. These modalities included systemic therapy, surgery alone, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, he adds. HPV infection was linked to a 21% reduction in the risk of death (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65-0.98; P = .03), and the median OS for men with HPV-negative disease was 104.38 months (95% CI, 89.1- 115.98), compared to 123.96 months (95% CI, 98.96- 148.4; P = .01) for those with HPV-positive pSCC.

These findings highlight HPV status as a significant prognostic indicator for patients with pSCC, irrespective of their clinical profile, Garje says. Accordingly, routine testing for HPV at the time of diagnosis should be performed in patients with pSCC to better inform potential treatment strategies, he concludes.

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