Patient preferences for oropharyngeal cancer treatment de-escalation
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BACKGROUND: The excellent prognosis of human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) against severe chemoradiotherapy (CRT) toxicities has opened discussion of deintensification trials. The purpose of this study was to describe the perspective of patients with HPV-positive and HPV-negative disease toward such studies. METHODS: Fifty-one patients with oropharyngeal SCC (post-CRT) underwent semistructured interviews contrasting toxicities of radiotherapy (RT) alone and CRT. Patients were asked what potential difference in cancer survival was acceptable to prefer RT over CRT. Initially, survival rate was the same for both treatments, then the RT rate was reduced until the preference switched. Treatment experience and preference for deintensified CRT were collected. RESULTS: Ninety-percent of patients initially selected RT, but 69% switched to CRT after 0% to 5% reduction in survival. Patients that rated their treatment experience as mild would accept lower survival versus severe treatment (p = .02). Eighty-one percent of patients (33 of 40) indicated they preferred reduced chemotherapy in CRT. CONCLUSION: Patients accept little difference in survival between treatments to avoid toxicity.
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