Radiotherapy followed by neck dissection for small head and neck cancers with advanced cervical metastases

Steven J. Wang, Marilene B. Wang, Thomas C. Calcaterra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients with small or occult primary carcinomas of the head and neck with advanced cervical metastases present a difficult problem for the otolaryngologist. A retrospective review was performed of patients who presented to UCLA Medical Center between January 1986 and June 1996 with small or occult primary tumors of the head and neck with advanced cervical metastases. The treatment algorithm consisted of initial radiotherapy to the primary site and the neck, followed in 6 to 8 weeks with endoscopy and biopsy of the primary tumor site. As long as the repeat biopsy of the primary tumor site was negative by frozen section, an immediate neck dissection was performed, even if no residual neck disease was present. Almost 40% of patients with no clinical evidence of neck disease following radiotherapy had evidence of metastatic cancer on histopathologic examination. While some would consider a watchful waiting policy when there is no clinically detectable neck disease following radiotherapy, we believe it is preferable to perform immediate surgery in such patients, in light of the high incidence of microscopic metastatic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-131
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Volume108
Issue number2 I
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Neck dissection
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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