Objective: To compare functional and survival outcomes for patients undergoing total glossectomy (TG) or total glossectomy plus laryngectomy (TGL) for advanced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tongue.
Study design: Case series with chart review.
Setting: Academic tertiary referral center.
Subjects and methods: There were 30 included patients (20 TG, 10 TGL). Outcomes included tumor recurrence, disease-free survival, and functional data (swallowing, gastrostomy tube dependence, speech, airway).
Results: Mean patient age was 56 years with a male predominance (90%). Compared with TG, TGL was more commonly performed for recurrent tumors (90% vs 55%, P = .06). Perineural invasion and extracapsular extension occurred more commonly in the TGL group (80% vs 50%, P = .12). At 12 months postoperatively, 61% of TG patients had disease recurrence compared with 40% of TGL patients (P = .43), and 12-month disease-free survival was 40% (TG) and 50% (TGL). Functionally, more TG patients were totally gastrostomy tube dependent (70% vs 30%, P = .04), and 50% of TG patients were also tracheostomy dependent. Intelligible speech was achieved by 30% of TG and 10% of TGL patients (P = .68).
Conclusion: Patients undergoing TGL had similar functional and survival outcomes to patients undergoing TG alone despite the presence of more locally advanced disease with greater adverse pathological features. Following TG alone, positive or close margins occurred most commonly at the inferior margin of resection (hyoid/valleculae), which could explain why TGL in patients with advanced tongue SCC may improve local disease control.