External beam radiation followed by planned neck dissection and brachytherapy for base of tongue squamous cell carcinoma.
BACKGROUND: Surgical resection of tongue base cancer can leave the patient with significant functional deficits. Other therapies, such as external beam radiation followed by neck dissection and radiation implants, have shown equal tumor control with good functional outcome. METHODS: Between March 1991 and July 1999, 12 patients at Oregon Health Sciences University, the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center and West Virginia University School of Medicine Hospital were treated with external beam radiation followed by neck dissection and Ir192 implants. Two patients had T1 disease, two had T2, five patients had T3 tumors, and three had T4 tumors. Six had N2a necks, three had N2b necks, and three had N2c. Follow-up ranged from 13 months to 8 years. RESULTS: After external beam radiation, five patients had complete response and seven had partial response in the neck without complications. One patient underwent a unilateral radical neck dissection, eight had unilateral selective neck dissections involving levels I to IV, and three had dissections involving levels I to III. One of the five patients who had a complete clinical response in the neck had pathologically positive nodes. One patient had a pulmonary embolus that was treated and had no permanent sequelae. There were three complications from brachytherapy. Two patients had soft tissue necrosis at the primary site and one patient had radionecrosis of the mandible. All healed without further therapy. One patient had persistent disease and underwent a partial glossectomy but died of local disease. Distant metastasis developed in two patients. All others show no evidence of disease and are able to eat a normal diet by mouth. CONCLUSION: This combination of therapies should be considered when treating tongue base cancer.
Kaylie, DM; Stevens, KR; Kang, MY; Cohen, JI; Wax, MK; Andersen, PE
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