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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Jul;131(7):592-9.

Transoral lateral oropharyngectomy for squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsillar region: II. An analysis of the incidence, related variables, and consequences of local recurrence.

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  • 1Service d'Oto-Rhino-Laryngologie et Chirurgie Cervico-Faciale, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Université of Paris V, Paris, France. ollivier.laccourreye@hop.egp.ap-hop-paris.fr



To determine the incidence of local and regional failure, distant metastasis, and overall survival following transoral lateral oropharyngectomy (TLO) and to determine factors associated with local recurrence.


Retrospective case series throughout 20 years; mean follow-up of 10 years.


Academic center.


A total of 166 previously untreated patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil.


A total of 131 (81.9%) of the 166 patients received preoperative induction chemotherapy. Fifty-one patients (30.7%) underwent postoperative radiation therapy.


Local and regional recurrence, distant metastasis, second primary tumors, and survival.


The 1- and 5-year Kaplan-Meier local control estimates were 91.2% and 82.1%, respectively. The 1- and 5-year Kaplan-Meier local control estimates were 98.3% and 89.0% for T1, 88.9% and 81.7% for T2, and 78.9% and 62.7% for T3 lesions, respectively (P = .02). In univariate analysis, 7 variables were significantly associated with an increased risk of local failure: increasing T classification; positive margins of resection; poor clinical response to induction chemotherapy; tumor spread to the posterior pillar, posterior pharyngeal wall, and contralateral soft palate; and invasion of the junction between the tonsil and soft palate. In a logistic regression model, spread to the posterior pillar was the only variable statistically associated with local failure (P = .02). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were 87.9%, 67.2%, and 57.7%, respectively. The Kaplan-Meier survival estimate was significantly reduced (P = .009) in patients with local failure.


Selected tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma can be managed with TLO with local control comparable to radiotherapy. Patient selection is critical and TLO is best suited for patients with anterior T1 to T2 squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil, without posterior anatomic spread.

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