Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Oropharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version
Last Modified: 12/12/2013

Stage I Oropharyngeal Cancer

Current Clinical Trials

Surgery or radiation is equally successful in controlling this stage of oropharyngeal cancer.

Standard treatment options:

  1. Radiation may be the preferred modality where the functional deficit will be great, such as the tongue base or tonsil, as shown in the RTOG-9003 trial, for example.[1]

  2. Surgery may be the preferred modality where the functional deficit will be minimal, such as tonsil pillar.

When radiation is given, careful choice of radiation technique by a radiation oncologist experienced in managing head and neck cancers is essential. The choice of treatment is dictated by the anticipated functional, cosmetic, and socioeconomic results of the treatment options as well as by the available expertise of the surgeon or radiation therapist. Treatment is individualized for each patient.

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Radiation clinical trials evaluating hyperfractionation schedules should be considered.
Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I oropharyngeal cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References
  1. Mendenhall WM, Amdur RJ, Stringer SP, et al.: Radiation therapy for squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsillar region: a preferred alternative to surgery? J Clin Oncol 18 (11): 2219-25, 2000.  [PUBMED Abstract]