Quarterback 2b - Sequential Therapy With Reduced Dose Chemoradiotherapy for HPV Oropharynx Cancer

  • End date
    Aug 18, 2027
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Updated on 7 October 2022


The purpose of this study is to establish the efficacy and toxicity of low dose chemoradiotherapy after induction chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced HPV+ oropharynx cancer and establish prognostic factors that would apply to help select patients for this treatment in the future.


In general, patients with Human Papilloma Virus Oropharynx Cancer (HPVOPC) are young and will live for prolonged periods. They are at high risk for long-term toxicity and mortality from radiotherapy. While the long-term consequences of chemotherapy for head and neck cancer are relatively constrained, high-dose radiotherapy (RT) and chemoradiotherapy (CRT) substantially impact on local tissues and organ function and result in a significant rate of late mortality and morbidity in patients. Studies are now being designed to reduce the impact of RT and CRT for patients. Identifying appropriate endpoints and study arms which will allow an early assessment of outcomes will be problematic, particularly for equivalence studies wherein survival differences are small, and where prolonged time periods and large patient numbers are necessary to accurately assess outcomes. For Sequential Therapy as given with TAX 324, 3-year PFS may be an appropriate endpoint. The same may not be possible for CRT. The best example of changing outcomes in CRT trials would be R91-11, in which a premature negative conclusion regarding the efficacy of induction therapy was published with the early analysis. Late toxicity and morbidity, a hallmark of upfront cisplatin-based CRT trials, led to equivalence between induction therapy and CRT for laryngectomy-free survival at 5 years, and more importantly a non-significant relative 10% improvement in overall survival in the PF induction arm compared to the CRT arm which included an every 3-week bolus cisplatin for 3 cycles during radiotherapy.

The survival results in HPVOPC achieved in TAX 324 and preliminary data from ECOG 1308 strongly suggest that it might be possible to reduce long-term morbidity in HPVOPC and preserve survival perhaps by better patient selection and by reducing radiotherapy intensity in the context of ST for more advanced cases. Best approach of HPV-negative disease might be with novel therapies and more aggressive Sequential Therapy (ST) or CRT.

Current radiation dose reduction trials are under way in ECOG, RTOG and other radiation based groups. The data from TAX 324 suggest that it is possible to reduce the radiation dose because of the superior progression free survival and the ability to select risk based CRT.

Condition Locally Advanced HPV Positive Oropharynx Cancer
Treatment PTV56, PTV50.4
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02945631
SponsorIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Last Modified on7 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Participants must meet the following criteria to be eligible to participate in the study
Patients may enroll in the study if they meet all of the entry criteria, were candidates
for induction chemotherapy regardless of HPV status and have to start therapy for logistic
reasons prior to p16 and HPV testing. They will enter the experimental post-Induction
portion of the study if the surgical specimens or biopsies are proven to be HPV+ on PCR
testing. Patients who are HPV negative will be taken off study and treated with SOC
radiotherapy and surgery
Participants must have histologically or cytologically confirmed squamous cell
carcinoma of the oropharynx, hypopharynx, supraglottic larynx, nasal cavity, unknown
primary, or nasopharynx that is p16 and HPV positive. Tissue from the primary site or
Stage 3 or 4 disease without evidence of distant metastases
lymph node must be available for biomarker studies and for PCR testing. IHC must be
performed in a lab verified by the central laboratory or the slides must be available
for review by the central laboratory and PCR must be done in the central laboratory
prior to radiotherapy. HPVPCR must be performed and results available for reduced dose
ECOG performance status of 0 or 1
therapy after induction
Patients who are on the Quarterback Trial when Quarterback 2 is activated and who have
Participants must have adequate bone marrow, hepatic and renal functions as defined
been randomized to radiotherapy arm will be asked to transfer to this trial and
receive the Quarterback 2 defined radiotherapy
At least one clinically evaluable or uni- or bi-dimensionally measurable lesion by
RECIST 1.1 criteria
Age ≥ 18 years
No previous surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy for SSCHN (other than biopsy or
tonsillectomy) is allowed at time of study entry
No active alcohol addiction (as assessed by medical caregiver and defined as at least
months without activity)
Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document
- Hematology
- Neutrophil count ≥ 1.5 x 10^9/l
- Platelet count ≥ 100 x 10^9/l
- Hemoglobin ≥ 10g/dl
- Renal function ≥ 60 ml/min (actual or calculated by the Cockcroft-Gault method) as
follows: CrCl (ml/min) = (140-age)(weight kg)/(mL/min) / 72 x serum creatinine (mg/dL)
- N.B. For females, use 85% of calculated CrCl value. Or a Creatinine ≤ the upper
limits of normal
- Hepatic
- Total Bilirubin ≤ institutional upper level of normal (ULN)
- AST or ALT and Alkaline Phosphatase must be within the range allowing for
Women of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test within 7 days of
starting treatment
Patients with Gilbert's Disease and absent hepatic pathology by history and clinical
assessment may be treated on study with bilirubin > the ULN for the institution if
other liver functions studies are within the normal range

Exclusion Criteria

Other serious illnesses or medical conditions including but not limited to
Concurrent treatment with any other anticancer therapy
Pregnant or breast feeding women, or women and men of childbearing potential not
willing to use adequate contraception while on treatment and for at least 3 months
Previous or current malignancies at other sites, with the exception of adequately
treated in situ carcinoma of the cervix, basal or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
thyroid cancer, or other cancer curatively treated by surgery and with no current
evidence of disease for at least 5 years
Symptomatic peripheral neuropathy grade > 2 by NCI Common Terminology Criteria
(NCI-CTC) version 4
Symptomatic altered hearing > grade 2 by NCI-CTCv4 criteria.These patients can be
entered by substituting carboplatin for cisplatin with an AUC of 6.0
- Unstable cardiac disease despite treatment, myocardial infarction within 6 months
prior to study entry
- History of significant neurologic or psychiatric disorders including dementia or
- Active clinically significant uncontrolled infection
- Active peptic ulcer disease defined as unhealed or clinically active
- Hypercalcemia
- Active drug addiction including alcohol, cocaine or intravenous drug use defined as
occurring within the 6 months preceding diagnosis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, defined as being associated with a
hospitalization for pneumonia or respiratory decompensation within 12 months of
diagnosis. This does not include obstruction from tumor
- Autoimmune disease requiring therapy, prior organ transplant, or HIV infection
- Interstitial lung disease
- Hepatitis C by history, and confirmed by serology
Patients that have experienced an involuntary weight loss of more than 25% of their
body weight in the 2 months preceding study entry
Participation in an investigational therapeutic drug trial within 30 days of study
Active smoking or a cumulative pack year history of > 20 pack years, active smoking is
(Defined as ≥ 1 cigarette per day) within the last 5 years
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