Efficacy and safety of treating T4 oral cavity tumors with primary chemoradiotherapy

Head Neck. 2009 Aug;31(8):1013-21. doi: 10.1002/hed.21062.


Background: Patients with T4 oral cavity (OC) tumors are often treated with surgery followed by adjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT).

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 4 multi-institutional phase II studies estimating long-term toxicity, locoregional control (LC), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) of primary CRT.

Results: Thirty-nine subjects were identified; 16 (42%) with bony involvement. Median radiotherapy dose delivered to primary tumor was 74 Gy. Five-year OS, PFS, and LC rates were 56%, 51%, and 75%, respectively. Sixty-nine percent of subjects with bony involvement never relapsed. Seven subjects developed osteoradionecrosis. Bone involvement with primary tumor did not appear to be associated with increased risk of death, relapse, or long-term complication.

Conclusion: These data suggest that primary CRT is an effective treatment approach in patients with T4 OC tumors including those with bony involvement producing LC, survival, and complication rates comparable to historical series. Prospective clinical trials should evaluate primary surgical versus CRT treatment in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / mortality
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome