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Acta Oncol. 2000;39(8):985-94.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx--an analysis of treatment results in 289 consecutive patients.

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Department of Experimental Clinical Oncology Danish Cancer Society, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.


In this retrospective study the results of primary and salvage treatment of oropharyngeal carcinoma were evaluated. A total of 289 consecutive patients (103 females and 186 males) were included in the study. Most tumours originated in the tonsil area (58%) and comprised stages I 8%, II 19%, III 46% and IV 28%. The primary treatment was delivered with curative intent in 276 cases (96%). Of these, 266 received primary radiotherapy. The median radiation dose was 62 Gy, given as laterally opposed fields to the primary tumour and bilateral neck. Eight patients were treated with primary surgery and two with chemotherapy as part of a curatively intended treatment programme including radiotherapy. Six patients received palliative treatment, and seven were not treated at all. Out of 276 tumours treated with curative intent, 173 reappeared; 72% recurred in T position, 38% in N position, and 12% at distant metastatic sites, some in combination. Salvage surgery was possible in 52 patients, and 24 treatments were successful. Salvage radiotherapy or cryotherapy was used in 22 patients and 4 were controlled. For the entire group, the 5-year locoregional tumour control, disease-specific survival and overall survival rates were 38%, 44% and 31%, respectively. For patients treated with curative intent, clinical T- and N-stage, stage, tumour size, gender, age, and pretreatment haemoglobin were significant prognostic parameters in a univariate analysis. The Cox multivariate analysis showed that T-stage, N-stage and gender were independent prognostic factors. It is concluded that T-stage, N-stage and gender are significant independent prognostic factors. The primary control of the carcinoma in the T-position is crucial for overall success, but salvage surgery is found to have a favourable success rate in patients suitable for relapse treatment.

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