Transoral robotic surgical resection followed by randomization to low- or standard-dose IMRT in resectable p16+ locally advanced oropharynx cancer: A trial of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (E3311).

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Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology


Background: ECOG-ACRIN 3311 examines reduced postoperative therapy in patients with “intermediate risk” p16+ oropharynx cancer (OPC) undergoing primary transoral surgical management. We report the primary endpoint of 2-year progression free survival (PFS) for patients randomized to 50Gy vs 60Gy without chemotherapy. Methods: Between December 2013 and July 2017, 82 credentialed surgeons performed transoral resection (TOS) for 519 OPC patients (cT1-2 stage III/IV AJCC7 without matted neck nodes); post-operative management was determined by pathologically assessed risk. Among 353 eligible and treated patients, Arm A enrolled 10% (N=37) for clear margins, 0-1 nodes, no extranodal extension (ENE)), Arms B (50Gy, N=102) or C (60Gy, N=104) randomized 58%, for clear/close margins, 2-4 + nodes, or ENE ≤1mm, while Arm D (N=110, 60-66Gy plus weekly cisplatin, 40 mg/m2, positive margin with any T stage, >4 + nodes, or >1mm ENE) enrolled 31%. Arm D assignment was based on >1mm ENE (76%), > 4 nodes (27%), and/or positive margins (11%). Intermediate-risk patients were stratified by smoking history (>10 pk-yr). Of the 80 pts (15%) deemed ineligible, 28 had scans/labs not done per protocol, however treatment arm distribution for all patients mirrored that for the 353 pts eligible and treated. Results: Median follow-up was 31.8 months. 2 yr PFS for Arms A, B and C were 93.9% (90% CI=87.3%, 100%), 95.0% (90% CI=91.4%, 98.6%) and 95.9% (90% CI=92.6%, 99.3%) respectively, while Arm D was 90.5% (90% CI=85.9%, 95.3%). The regimen of TOS + low-dose radiation is considered worthy of further study, since the primary endpoint of the upper bound of the 90% CI (in the intermediate risk group) exceeding 85% was met. Of 17 progression events, 7 were locoregional. There were 10 distant recurrences: Arm A=1, Arm B=2, Arm C=4, Arm D=3. Grade III/IV treatment-related AE rates were 15%/2% during surgery, 13%/2% for Arm B and 25%/0% for Arm C. There were 2 treatment-related deaths (one surgical and one Arm D). Conclusions: Transoral resection of p16+ OPC is safe and results in good oncologic outcome, presenting a promising deintensification approach. For patients with low-risk disease, 2-yr PFS is favorable without post-operative therapy. For those with uninvolved surgical margins, <5 involved nodes, and minimal (<1mm) ENE, reduced dose postoperative RT without chemotherapy appears sufficient. Transoral surgery plus 50Gy should be compared to optimal non-surgical therapy in a phase III trial. Clinical trial information: NCT01898494.

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Earle A. Chiles Research Institute