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Oral Oncol. 2006 Jan;42(1):96-101. Epub 2005 Oct 26.

Elective neck treatment versus observation in patients with T1/T2 N0 squamous cell carcinoma of oral tongue.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, P.O. Box 220, FIN 00029 HUCH, Helsinki, Finland.


A retrospective analysis of 80 patients treated for T1/T2 N0 squamous cell carcinoma of oral tongue was performed. The patients were divided into two groups according to the management of the neck: those without (n = 34) and those with elective neck treatment (n = 46). The two groups were compared with respect to overall survival (OS), disease specific survival (DSS), and recurrences. The incidence of occult nodal disease and the results of salvage treatment were analysed. There were significantly fewer regional recurrences in patients with elective neck treatment. Statistical differences in OS or DSS between the treatment groups were not found. Of all the patients with locoregional recurrence, 33% were salvaged. The incidences of occult metastasis for T1 and T2 tumours were 24% and 35%, respectively. The elective neck treatment resulted in better regional control. The results of salvage treatment were poor. The risk for occult cervical metastasis is high in patients with early tongue tumours and only carefully selected patients can be left without prophylactic neck treatment.

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