HealthDay News — For patients with human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HPV+ OPSCC), most of the disease recurrence and late toxicity events after treatment occur within six months, according to research published in the February 15 issue of Cancer.

Jessica M. Frakes, MD, from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of data from 232 patients with biopsy-proven, nonmetastatic HPV+ OPSCC who were treated with radiotherapy. Patients were followed every three months for the first year, every four months in year two, and every six months in years three to five; median follow-up was 33 months.

The researchers found that 85% of patients used systemic therapy. For locoregional control, distant control, and overall survival, the three-year rates were 94, 91, and 91%, respectively. Nine percent of patients experienced late toxicity. Most toxicity and failure events (64%) occurred within the first six months of follow-up; at each subsequent follow-up there was a <2% event incidence. After two years, only four patients experienced their first event.

“These data suggest that it may be reasonable to reduce follow-up in patients with HPV+ OPSCC to every three months for the first six months, every six months for the first two years, and annually thereafter,” the authors write.

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