Oropharyngeal Cancer

Transoral Robotic Surgery in the HPV Era

Irit Duek, Salem Billan, Moran Amit, and Ziv Gil


The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) has markedly increased over the last three decades mostly due to human papillomavirus (HPV)-related infections. Cancers resulting from HPV infection bear a better prognosis than those that are smoking-related. Because HPV-positive patients are often younger, with lower rates of co-morbid illness and longer overall life expectancies, long-term sequelae of therapy have become an important issue. Treatment of oropharyngeal cancers has typically involved the use of radiation and chemotherapy to avoid the morbidity of open surgery which included mandibulotomy and composite resection. Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) is an emerging treatment option for this disease, avoiding the morbidity of open approaches while providing excellent oncologic and functional outcomes. With overall survival rate at 2 years exceeding 80%, and local failure rate of less than 3%, patients receiving TORS report relatively good health-related quality of life (QOL) scores. The aim of the current review is to provide a summary of the current literature with regard to the oncologic and functional outcomes following treatment of OPSCC with TORS.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2014;5(2):e0010