Predicting the pattern of regional metastases from cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck based on location of the primary

Head Neck. 2010 Oct;32(10):1288-94. doi: 10.1002/hed.21332.


Background: We aimed to analyze the distribution of regional nodal metastases according to primary tumor location in patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).

Methods: Analysis of 295 neck dissections performed for patients with clinically evident regional metastases from cutaneous SCCHN between 1987 and 2009.

Results: Level I involvement in the absence of level II or III only occurred in patients with facial primaries. In patients with clear nodes in level II-III, the risk of level IV-V involvement was 0.0% for external ear primaries, 2.7% for face and anterior scalp, and 15.8% for posterior scalp and neck.

Conclusion: In patients undergoing parotidectomy for metastatic cutaneous SCCHN with a clinically negative neck, the results of this study support selective neck dissection including level I-III for facial primaries, level II-III for anterior scalp and external ear primaries, and levels II-V for posterior scalp and neck primaries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection
  • Parotid Gland / surgery
  • Parotid Neoplasms / secondary
  • Parotid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*