Utilization of Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) in patients with Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma and its impact on survival and use of chemotherapy

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Objective: To determine whether patients with Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OPSCC) treated with Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) have similar survival to patients treated with definitive RT. Materials and methods: Using the National Cancer Database (NCDB) registry, we identified patients with newly diagnosed clinical T1-T2, N0-N2b OPSCC between 2010 and 2014. A multivariable logistic regression was utilized to determine the association between chemotherapy use and primary treatment modality (TORS vs definitive RT). Kaplan Meier survival analysis was used to estimate overall survival. Propensity score matching was utilized to address selection bias. Results: We identified 17,150 patients, of which 14,470 (84.4%) received primary RT and 2,680 (15.6%) underwent TORS. The median follow-up for the cohort was 31.4 months. Propensity score matching demonstrated similar 5-year OS for patients treated with either definitive RT or TORS (81% vs 84%, log rank p = 0.10). There was no difference in survival outcomes by treatment selection (TORS or definitive RT) in either HPV positive or HPV negative subtypes. Patients treated with TORS were less likely to receive chemotherapy compared to patients treated with definitive RT and this was also demonstrated in a propensity matched analysis (OR: 0.09, 95%CI 0.078–0.12, p < 0.001). Only 68.4% of TORS treated patients underwent adjuvant RT, compared to 100% of patients in the primary RT cohort (p < 0.001). Conclusions and relevance: For patients with OPSCC, TORS results in similar OS outcomes and is associated with decreased chemotherapy and RT use compared to definitive RT. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of TORS in a select subgroup of OPSCC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalOral Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018



  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • HPV
  • Radiation therapy
  • TORS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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