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Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of adverse lifestyle factors on outcomes in patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Methods: From 2010 to 2019, 150 consecutive non-metastatic OPSCC patients receiving curative treatment in our institution were retrospectively enrolled. HPV positivity was defined as p16 expression ≥75%. The effects of adverse lifestyle factors on overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) on OPSCC patients were determined. Results: The median follow-up duration was 3.6 years. Of the 150 OPSCCs, 51 (34%) patients were HPV-positive and 99 (66%) were HPV-negative. The adverse lifestyle exposure rates were 74.7% (n = 112) alcohol use, 57.3% (n = 86) betel grid chewing, and 78% (n = 117) cigarette smoking. Alcohol use strongly interacted with HPV positivity (HR, 6.00; 95% CI, 1.03–35.01), leading to an average 26.1% increased risk of disease relapse in patients with HPV-positive OPSCC. Heavy smoking age ≥30 pack-years was associated with increased risk of death (HR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.05–4.00) and disease relapse (HR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.06–3.75) in OPSCC patients. In stratified analyses, the 3-year absolute risk of disease relapse in HPV-positive OPSCC patients reached up to 50% when alcohol use and heavy smoking for ≥30 pack-years were combined. Conclusions: Alcohol acted as a significant treatment-effect modifier for DFS in HPV-positive OPSCC patients, diluting the favorable prognostic effect of HPV positivity. Heavy smoking age ≥30 pack-years was an independent adverse prognostic factor of OS and DFS in OPSCC patients. De-intensification treatment for HPV-related OPSCC may be avoided when these adverse lifestyle factors are present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6510
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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