Locoregional recurrence following surgical resection alone for stage III/IV head and neck cancer is common. Adjuvant radiotherapy has been shown to improve post-operative locoregional control when compared to pre-operative radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. Following surgical resection, adverse pathological features determine the need for adjuvant therapy. High-risk pathologic features include extranodal tumor spread and involved surgical margins. Other adverse pathologic features include T 3-4 tumors, perineural invasion, lymphovascular space invasion, low neck adenopathy, and multiple tumor involved cervical lymph nodes. The standard adjuvant therapies are post-operative radiation therapy or post-operative chemoradiotherapy. Post-operative chemoradiotherapy yields superior locoregional control, progression-free survival, and in some studies, overall survival compared to post-operative radiotherapy for high-risk patients in multiple randomized studies. Pooled analyses of randomized data demonstrate that post-operative concurrent chemoradiotherapy is associated with overall survival benefits for patients with involved surgical margins as well as those with extranodal tumor spread. Post-operative radiotherapy concurrent with cisplatin at 100 mg/m(2) every 21 days is the current standard chemoradiotherapy platform adjuvant head and neck cancer treatment. Post-operative radiotherapy and post-operative chemoradiotherapy radiation treatment volumes are not standardized and should be designed based on the risk of recurrence and clinically occult involvement of head and neck subsites and nodal regions. Evidence supports a post-operative radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy radiation dose of at least 63 Gy for high-risk patients and at least 57 Gy for low risk patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the impact of close or positive surgical margins on the outcome, and to determine whether margin status influence the recurrence rate and the overall survival for patients with head and neck cancers.
Records from 1996 to 2001 of 413 patients with primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) treated with surgery as the first line treatment were analysed. Of these patients, 82 were eligible for the study. Patients were followed up for 5 years.
Patients with margins between 5-10 mm had 50% recurrence rate (RR), those with surgical margins between 1-5 mm had RR of 59% and those with positive surgical margins had RR of 90% (P=0.004). The 5-year survival rates were 54%, 39% and 10%, respectively (P=0.002).
Unsatisfactory surgical margin is an independent risk factor for recurrence free survival as well as overall survival regardless of the other tumor and patient characteristics.
Cancer Biology and Medicine 03/2012; 9(1):29-33. DOI:10.3969/j.issn.2095-3941.2012.01.005
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose
To assess microscopic extensions of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas aiming at a proposal for target volumes of radiation therapy.
Materials and methods
Surgical specimens were prospectively analysed macroscopically and microscopically. Tumour borders were identified per macroscopic visual examination and inked on stained slides. Then microscopic implants (perineural or lymphatic involvement, or in situ carcinomas) were looked for with an optic microscope in the macroscopic healthy tissue surrounding the tumour. The maximal length from tumour border was correlated with the maximal length of macroscopically healthy tissues assessable.
Twenty-one specimens were analysed and 12 were locally advanced tumours. Mean and median maximal microscopic extensions were 2.9 and 1.0 mm (0–15 mm), respectively. The 90th and 95th percentiles were 5 and 11 mm, respectively. The ratio between healthy tissue length and maximal microscopic tumour extension was 10%. No correlation was found with tumour grade or volume.
The presence of microscopic tumour was unlikely after 5 mm from macroscopic tumour (≤ 5% of patients in this series) but should be assessed along with other histoclinical factors and particularities of tumour behaviour by anatomic site. A rigorous terminology should authorize a relevant appreciation of local risk of recurrence, particularly in adjuvant setting or for clinical target volume definition. Larger and more homogenous confirmatory series are needed.
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