Are Throat Pain and Otalgia Predictive of Perineural Invasion in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oropharynx?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Head and neck cancer is often associated with pain and perineural invasion (PNI). The purpose of this study was to determine the association of pain complaints and the microscopic identification of PNI in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was performed including patients diagnosed with OPSCC from 2010 to 2019. Patients diagnosed and operated on with curative intent at 2 institutions were included. The primary predictor variable was pain (measured as no pain, ear pain, throat pain, or simultaneous pain). Other variables were patient demographics, p16 status, and TNM staging. The primary outcome variable was the histologic presence of PNI. Chi-square analysis was performed to test for any significant associations between pain, T stage, overall stage, and p16 status in relation to PNI outcome. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to control for cancer staging variables when testing the association between pain and PNI. RESULTS: The final sample was composed of 157 subjects of whom 126 were men. The mean age was 59.7 years. Seventy-seven (49.0%) presented with no pain, while 35 (22.3%), 39 (24.8%), and 6 (3.8%) presented with both throat/ear pain, throat pain only, and ear pain only, respectively. Patients with simultaneous pain had 3.41 times higher odds of PNI compared to the no pain group (P = .02), although only pathologic T stage 4 and a diagnosis on the base of the tongue were independent postoperative predictors of PNI (P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that otalgia is a preoperative predictor of PNI in OPSCC and also demonstrates a trend of increasing pain complaints with PNI.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fahmy, MD; Clegg, D; Belcastro, A; Smith, BD; Eric Heidel, R; Carlson, ER; Hechler, B

Published Date

  • February 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 80 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 363 - 371

PubMed ID

  • 34606767

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1531-5053

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.joms.2021.08.265


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States