PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The treatment of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx (OPSCC) remains controversial. HPV positivity is widely accepted as a favorable prognostic factor, and HPV+ OPSCC is considered a distinct pathological entity with dedicated NCCN guidelines and may deserve a more personalized therapeutic strategy. The possibility to reduce surgical invasiveness and acute and late toxicity of radiotherapy/chemotherapy has led to the new concept of de-escalation treatment strategies. In particular, several de-intensified approaches have been investigated with the aim to give patients less toxic treatments, while maintaining comparable results in terms of disease's control and survival. The aim of the present review is to systematically illustrate the current status of research in de-intensification surgical and non-surgical strategies in the treatment of the OPSCC.
RECENT FINDINGS: We categorized all completed and on-going trials on the basis of the specific de-escalated treatment protocol. Several de-intensified approaches have been investigated with the aim to give patients less toxic treatments, while maintaining comparable results in terms of disease's control and survival. Considering the conflicting results reported so far by preliminary studies, it is necessary to wait for the final results of the on-going trials to better clarify which is the best de-intensified strategy and which patients would really benefit from it.