Shlomo Koyfman, MD
Although HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer is associated with more favorable outcomes, there is a heterogeneous group of patients who have higher disease failure rates and a greater likelihood of distant metastases.
, lead investigator Shlomo Koyfman, MD, associate staff, radiation oncology, Cleveland Clinic, discussed the study findings and the implication going forward for the treatment of patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer.
OncLive: Can you start by giving an overview of this study?
Head and neck cancer was historically found in older men with a lot of smoking and alcohol exposure. In the last 10 to 15 years, we’ve seen an explosion of head and neck cancer—usually in the base of the tongue and tonsil, and mostly in young, healthy, white males who smoke or drink minimally. The discovery is there is a different kind of head and neck cancer in the oropharynx caused by HPV.
We tried to figure out why the cancers are coming back in the lungs and other places in the body instead of in the head and neck. In the study, we attempted to identify the predictors of distant metastasis.
What were the results of this study?
The predictors for distant metastasis were T4 tumors and heavy smoking. If you have a virus cancer that is associated with smoking, it causes the cancer to behave differently.
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