Epidemiological and clinical description of patients with oropharyngeal cancer treated in a public oncology referral hospital in Chile

26 Mar 2024
Felipe Carvajal V, Felipe Cardemil, Beatriz P Vásquez, Carolina E Oliva, Tamra A Barría, Maribel A Bruna, Leonor A Moyano, Felipe A Bustos, Paola A Muñoz, Cristóbal F Araya, Jorge E Oyarzún, Eduardo A Villa, Federico A Floriano, Alexis J del Rio, Sebastián R Indo, Enrique A Castellón, Héctor R Contreras

Introduction: The incidence of squamous carcinoma of the oropharynx (OPSCC) has presented an increase worldwide, a fact that occurs along with a phenomenon of epidemiological transition, whose pathogenesis is linked to human papilloma virus (HPV) in a significant part of the cases. Published evidence at the Latin American level is scarce. The present study aims to evaluate the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with oropharyngeal cancer treated in a public oncology reference centre in Chile.

Methodology: A cross-sectional study was carried out. Patients with histological confirmation of OPSCC aged 18 years or older, referred to the National Cancer Institute of Chile between 2012 and 2023 were included. The association with HPV was determined by immunohistochemistry for p16.

Results: 178 patients were analysed, most of them in locoregionally advanced stages involving the palatine tonsil. Seventy-seven percent were male, with a median age of 60 years. Sixty-seven percent of patients were positive for p16, with a progressive increase to 85% in the last 2 years of the study. The p16(+) patients were younger and had fewer classical risk factors. Primary treatment was radiotherapy in 94% of patients.

Conclusion: The epidemiological profile of patients with OPSCC treated in a Chilean public oncology referral centre reflects the epidemiological transition observed in developed countries. This change justifies the need to adapt health policies and conduct research that considers the characteristics of this new epidemiological profile.

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