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Oral Oncol. 1999 May;35(3):257-65.

Survival and patterns of recurrence in 200 oral cancer patients treated by radical surgery and neck dissection.

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  • 1Oral Diseases Unit, University of Liverpool School of Dentistry, UK.


The outcome of 200 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral/oropharyngeal mucosa managed by primary radical surgery and simultaneous neck dissection and followed for 2.2-8.5 years is reported and related to the pathological features. Ninety-nine patients (50%) had cervical lymph node metastases including 16 (8%) with bilateral metastases. Actuarial (life tables) survival analysis showed the overall 2-year survival probability was 72%, falling to 64% at 5 years. The 5-year survival probability was 81% for patients without metastasis, 64% for patients with intranodal metastases and 21% for patients with metastases showing extracapsular spread. A total of 60 patients (30%) died of/with their cancer: 36 (18%) of local recurrence; 4 (2%) of a metachronous primary tumour; 14 (7%) of regional disease, and 6 (3%) with systemic metastases. A further 15 patients (8%) had relapsed but were clinically disease-free after additional surgery. In all, 7% of the series developed metachronous primary tumours. In addition to nodal metastasis, survival was related to the site and stage of the primary tumour, the histological grade and pattern of invasion, status of the resection margins and pathological TNM stage. For patients with lymph node metastasis, extracapsular spread was an important indicator of tumour behaviour and we recommend its use as a criterion for pathological N staging.

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