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T but not N stage predicts survival for patients with tonsillar carcinoma treated with external radiotherapy and brachytherapy

Journal article
Authors Luaay Aziz
Jan Nyman
Staffan Edström
Published in Acta Oncologica
Volume 49
Issue 6
Pages 821-825
ISSN 0284-186X
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 821-825
Language en
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology


Background. Our aim was to determine the efficacy of a therapeutic schedule including external radiation and brachytherapy in a consecutive and retrospective series of tonsillar carcinoma patients. Patients and methods. Ninety-six patients with tonsillar carcinoma were treated between 1988 and 2000 and were followed up for at least for three years. All patients were treated with accelerated hyperfractionated external radiotherapy, 68 patients had additional brachytherapy and 69 patients with advanced stages also received chemotherapy. There was no planned surgery even though 73% had N+ disease. Eleven patients with persistent neck nodes underwent ultimate salvage surgery. Results. The overall three-year survival (OS) was 70%. OS for the T stage was T1 90%, T2 89%, T3 54% and T4 60%. The corresponding numbers for the N stage were N0 61.5%, N1 73%, N2 78% and N3 66%. Accordingly OS was influenced by the T stage (p>0.001) rather than by N stage. Only four patients with salvage surgery had viable tumour cells in the specimen, their survival was not inferior. Discussion. The primary tumour stage is an essential determinant for survival in patients with irradiated tonsillar carcinoma. Neck dissection should be confined only as a salvage procedure.

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