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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992 May;118(5):483-5.

Prognostic factors in the recurrence of stage I and II squamous cell cancer of the oral cavity.

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  • 1Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7070.


Stage I and II squamous cell cancers of the oral cavity have a high recurrence rate given their size and relative amenability to surgical resection. It has been suggested that one way to decrease this recurrence rate is to augment the surgical resection of these tumors with either elective neck dissection or radiation therapy. However, this would expose a significant number of patients to the unnecessary morbidity associated with either of these modalities. In an attempt to identify those patients most at risk for recurrence, we retrospectively determined the clinical and histologic factors that were associated with recurrence in 49 patients with stage I and II oral cavity cancer. Multiple regression analysis revealed that when various interactions between variables were controlled for, only the presence of a positive surgical margin or a tumor depth greater than 5 mm was significantly associated with recurrence. Each individually increased the likelihood of recurrence almost threefold.

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