Effectiveness of superselective and selective neck dissection for advanced nodal metastases after chemoradiation

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Nov;131(11):965-9. doi: 10.1001/archotol.131.11.965.


Objective: To determine the efficacy of selective and superselective neck dissection for patients with bulky or residual nodal metastasis treated with concomitant intra-arterial cisplatin and radiotherapy.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: University of Tennessee, Memphis.

Patients: A total of 240 patients with stage III or IV head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Interventions: Treatment with cisplatin, 150 mg/m2 intra-arterially, and sodium thiosulfate, 9 g/m2 intravenously, weekly for 4 weeks; and radiotherapy, 2 Gy per fraction per day, 5 times weekly, for a total of 68 to 74 Gy over 6 to 7 weeks.

Main outcome measures: Regional control, distant metastases, and overall survival for patients undergoing radical or modified radical neck dissection (n = 12), selective neck dissection (n = 65), and superselective neck dissection (levels II-III only) (n = 7).

Results: Among the total group of 240 patients, 106 neck dissections were performed on 84 patients who had bulky nodal disease. With a median follow-up of 58 months (range, 12-96 months), regional failure occurred in 11 (4.6%) of 240 patients: 2 (17%) of the 12 who had modified radical neck dissection, 3 (5%) of the 65 who had selective neck dissection, none of the 7 patients who had superselective neck dissection, and 6 (4%) of the 156 who had no neck dissection. The rates of overall survival and distant metastases were not significantly different among the 3 neck dissection subsets.

Conclusion: Selective and superselective neck dissection, which spare function and minimize morbidity, are viable therapeutic alternatives for patients with residual disease confined to 1 level after intra-arterial chemoradiation treatment, and possibly for other chemoradiation protocols.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intra-Arterial
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / secondary
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin