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Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Jul;65(Suppl 1):89-94. doi: 10.1007/s12070-012-0551-4. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Immunohistochemistry, a valuable tool in detection of cervical lymph node micrometastases in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: a prospective study.

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Department of ENT, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan India ; B-43, Krishna Puri, Old Ramgarh Mod, Amer Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan India.
Department of ENT, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan India.
Department of Pathology, SDMH, Jaipur, Rajasthan India.


The regional failure after comprehensive clearance of neck metastasis and consequent pathological report of N0 disease has been reported fairly frequently. The role of recurrence of disease in the neck in the cases has been variously reported by different authors. The light microscopy does not detect the micrometastasis and the specimen is reported negative for metastasis. The presence of micrometastasis (the reason for neck failure) has been reported by many studies as 5-58 % (mean 19.6 %). These figures are significantly high. The present study was done to ascertain the micrometastasis after comprehensive neck clearance (pN0 report). Two groups of patients were included in this study. (1) Group I included patients with N0 necks (80 patients). (2) Group II included Patients with N+ necks (107 patients). We found that 20 % case were reported N0 (Group I) in light microscopy but on immunohistochemistry these were positive for disease. 15 % upstaging was reported in N+ cases (Group 2). Immunohistochemistry has been more sensitive for cancer detection and has significantly changed the tumor staging and its consequent management.


Cervical metastases; Cytokeratin; Immunohistochemistry; Micrometastasis

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