Purpose: Tobacco smoking is associated with oropharynx cancer survival, but to what extent cancer progression or death increases with increasing tobacco exposure is unknown. Patients and Methods: Patients with oropharynx cancer enrolled onto a phase III trial of radiotherapy from 1991 to 1997 (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group [RTOG] 9003) or of chemoradiotherapy from 2002 to 2005 (RTOG 0129) were evaluated for tumor human papillomavirus status by a surrogate, p16 immunohistochemistry, and for tobacco exposure by a standardized questionnaire. Associations between tobacco exposure and overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were estimated by Cox proportional hazards models. Results: Prevalence of p16-positive cancer was 39.5% among patients in RTOG 9003 and 68.0% in RTOG 0129. Median pack-years of tobacco smoking were lower among p16-positive than p16-negative patients in both trials (RTOG 9003: 29 v 45.9 pack-years; P = .02; RTOG 0129: 10 v 40 pack-years; P < .001). After adjustment for p16 and other factors, risk of progression (PFS) or death (OS) increased by 1% per pack-year (for both, hazard ratio [HR], 1.01; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.01; P = .002) or 2% per year of smoking (for both, HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.03; P < .001) in both trials. In RTOG 9003, risk of death doubled (HR, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.46 to 3.28) among those who smoked during radiotherapy after accounting for pack-years and other factors, and risk of second primary tumors increased by 1.5% per pack-year (HR, 1.015; 95% CI, 1.005 to 1.026). Conclusion: Risk of oropharyngeal cancer progression and death increases directly as a function of tobacco exposure at diagnosis and during therapy and is independent of tumor p16 status and treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research