Publication Abstract

Authors: Peng KA, Chu AC, Lai C, Grogan T, Elashoff D, Abemayor E, St John MA

Title: Is there a role for neck dissection in T1 oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma? The UCLA experience.

Journal: Am J Otolaryngol 35(6):741-6

Date: 2014 Nov-Dec

Abstract: PURPOSE: We sought to examine prognostic and therapeutic implications, including cost-effectiveness, of elective neck dissection in the management of patients with clinically-determined T1N0 oral tongue carcinoma. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective review of patients with cT1N0 oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma who underwent surgical extirpation of primary tumor, with or without elective neck dissection, at UCLA Medical Center from 1990 to 2009 was performed. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to assess effects of variables on time to first loco-regional recurrence. A healthcare costs analysis of elective neck dissection was performed by querying the SEER-Medicare linked database. RESULTS: Of the 123 patients identified with cT1N0 squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue, 88 underwent elective neck dissection at the time of tumor resection while 35 did not. For all patients, disease-free survival at 3, 5, and 10 years was 93%, 82%, and 79%. Of the 88 patients undergoing elective neck dissection, 20 (23%) demonstrated occult metastatic disease. Male gender, tumor size, perineural invasion, and occult metastatic disease were individually associated with higher rates of loco-regional recurrence. There was no significant difference in loco-regional recurrence between those who underwent elective neck dissection and those who did not (HR=0.76, p=0.52). On cost analysis, neck dissection was not associated with any significant difference in Medicare payments. CONCLUSIONS: The high rate of occult metastasis (23%) following elective neck dissection, which did not confer additional healthcare costs, leads to the recommendation of elective neck dissection in patients with cT1N0 oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma.