Histological assessment of cervical lymph node identifies patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC): who would benefit from chemoradiation after surgery?

Laryngoscope. 2012 Dec;122(12):2712-22.

Wan XC, Egloff AM, Johnson J.

School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS:

Postoperative chemoradiation (CRT) has been shown to be more effective than postoperative radiotherapy (RT) alone in high risk head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. Multimodality therapy is associated with more treatment related-toxicity. In this study, we assessed cervical lymph node histological characteristics to detect prognostic and predictive value differences to help guide therapeutic decision making.

STUDY DESIGN:

Retrospective analysis of Cancer Registry data.

METHODS:

HNSCC surgical patients who had tumor resection and neck dissection at our institution from 1980 to 2008 were identified (n=1510). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were developed to identify significant predictors of three outcomes: overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS), and neck disease recurrence (NDR). Hazard ratios were estimated for the number of cervical nodal metastases and presence of extracapsular spread (ECS) by adjuvant treatment after controlling for significant covariates.

RESULTS:

Increasing number of positive nodes was significantly associated with poorer outcomes in OS, DSS, and NDR models (p<0.0001, p<0.0001, p=0.0002, respectively). OS and DSS associated with adjuvant treatment (none, RT, or CRT) were modified by number of positive nodes, ECS status, and cancer site. The presence of ECS was associated with reduced OS and DSS (p=0.077, p=0.001 respectively), but not significantly associated with NDR (p=0.179). Nodal positive patients benefited from adjuvant therapy regardless of ECS status. CRT consistently conferred a survival advantage over RT across all nodal categories, although the difference was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS:

We observed a consistent survival advantage with CRT over RT for patients with positive cervical nodal metastasis, although the difference was not statistically significant.

PMID: 23060119

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