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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Nov;149(5):721-6. doi: 10.1177/0194599813500630. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

Standardized uptake value and resection margin involvement predict outcomes in pN0 head and neck cancer.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic factors of patients with pathologically negative lymph node (pN0) head and neck cancer. Study Design Case series with chart review.


College medical center.


The medical records of 120 patients were reviewed. Primary tumor sites included 46 larynx, 45 oral cavity, 17 oropharynx, and 12 hypopharynx.


The recurrence rate was 14% (17/120) over a mean observation period of 33 months. Median (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax; using 8.5 as a cutoff; P = .001), positive surgical margins (P = .005), and pathologic T stage (P = .012) were found to be associated with recurrence. The 5-year disease-specific survival rate (DSSR) in our cohort was 86%. Patients with an SUVmax value higher than 8.5 and positive surgical margins had significantly decreased 5-year DSSR based on Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Multivariate Cox regression analysis confirmed the significant association between median SUVmax (using 8.5 as a cutoff; hazard ratio [HR], 6.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.79-20.93; P = .004) and margin involvement (HR, 4.98; 95% CI, 1.42-17.47; P = .012).


A median (18)F-FDG PET/CT SUVmax cutoff values of 8.5 or greater and positive surgical margins were associated with adverse outcomes in patients with pN0 head and neck cancer.


head and neck neoplasms; lymph node; neck dissection; squamous cell carcinoma; treatment outcome

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