Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a cause of oropharynx cancer. Treatment for cancer of the oropharynx (the region where the mouth meets the throat) may involve surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy. This treatment can have side effects that impair speech, swallowing, and patients’ overall quality of life. Doctors are therefore looking for ways to determine just how much therapy each patient needs.
In this study, patients with HPV-positive oropharynx cancer will have their tumors surgically removed in an operation that is performed through the mouth (“transorally”). Their tumors will then be examined under a microscope. Based on the results of this examination, researchers will assign (stratify) them into one of four treatment groups:
- No additional treatment needed
- Low-dose radiation therapy, delivered in 25 treatments
- Standard-dose radiation therapy, delivered in 30 treatments
- Chemotherapy with weekly cisplatin and standard-dose radiation (33 treatments)
Researchers will compare the four groups to determine if this approach is an effective way of treating locally advanced HPV-positive oropharynx cancer.