Oral Oncol 2013 Jan 1;49(1):55-9. Epub 2012 Aug 1.
Department of Clinical Oncology, St. James's Institute of Oncology, Beckett Street, Leeds LS9 7TF, United Kingdom.
Objectives: The optimal management of the N3 neck in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains controversial. We report the outcomes of patients with N3 disease treated with a strategy of concurrent chemo-radiotherapy (CRT)±induction chemotherapy (ICT) without a planned neck dissection.
Materials And Methods: Forty patients with HNSCC N3 disease treated between January 2004 and December 2010 were retrospectively identified. Inclusion criteria for the study were: non-nasopharyngeal HNSCC, N3 nodal disease, intention to treat with CRT±ICT.
Results: Median age was 60 (range 39-74). Median follow up was 32 months (range 8-88). 34 (85%) of patients received ICT. 35 patients received cisplatin-CRT, 4 carboplatin-CRT and 1 patient was treated with radiotherapy alone due to ICT toxicity. 27 (67.5%) patients had a complete response (CR) to CRT. 5 (12.5%) patients had an incomplete response in both the primary and nodal sites. 8 (20%) patients had a CR in the primary site but incomplete in the nodal regions. The crude rate of regional failure following a CR was 3/27 (11.2%). Isolated regional failure occurred in 1/27 (3.7%) patients who had achieved a CR post-CRT. 3 year overall survival, disease free survival, locoregional control, local control and regional control in the whole cohort were 51.4%, 49.6%, 65.7%, 77.3%, 69.3%, and in patients with a CR were 73.3%, 70.0%, 86.6%, 90.5% and 91.7% respectively.
Conclusion: Isolated regional nodal failure is rare following a complete response to CRT for N3 HNSCC managed without a planned neck dissection.