R. de Bree
I. van der Waal
- Outcome of patients with early stage oral cancer managed by an observation strategy towards the N0 neck using ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration cytology: No survival difference as compared to elective neck dissection
- Oral Oncology
- Volume | Issue number
- 49 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Management of the clinically N0 neck in oral cancer patients remains controversial. We describe the outcome of patients with T1-T2 oral cancer and N0 neck based on ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration cytology (USgFNAC) who were treated by transoral excision and followed by a ‘wait and scan’ policy (W&S).
Patients and methods
This retrospective analysis included 285 consecutive patients of whom 234 were followed by W&S and 51 underwent elective neck dissection (END). Survival rates were compared between groups and correction for confounding factors was performed.
Of W&S patients, the 5-year disease-specific (DSS) and overall survival (OS) were 94.2% and 81.6% respectively. During follow-up 72.2% remained free of lymph node metastases and 27.8% developed delayed metastases. W&S patients with delayed metastases had a 5-year DSS and OS of 80.0% and 62.8%, respectively. In patients with positive END these rates were 81.3% and 64.2%, respectively. Between the groups, survival rates were not significantly different. Of the W&S patients with delayed metastases, 90.6% needed adjuvant radiotherapy versus 55.0% of patients with positive END.
With regard to survival, in patients with early stage oral cancer and cN0 neck a ‘wait and scan’ policy using strict USgFNAC surveillance is justified as survival is not negatively influenced. Using a ‘wait and scan’ follow-up strategy instead of elective neck treatment, unnecessary neck dissection and its accompanying morbidity can be avoided in 72.2% of patients. However, for the small proportion of patients with delayed metastases, more extensive treatment with adjuvant radiotherapy is needed.
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