Objectives: This report presents the French Society of ORL (SFORL) guidelines for exploration for remote metastasis and synchronous second cancer in initial staging of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Materials and methods: An exhaustive literature review was analyzed by a multidisciplinary work-group.
Results: The thorax is the most frequent location of remote metastases and synchronous second cancer outside of the upper aerodigestive tract. Thoracic CT is recommended as first-line examination in all cases (grade B). 18-FDG PET/CT is recommended when the thoracic CT image is doubtful or in case of high metastatic risk (grade B), for the detection of non-pulmonary remote metastasis. Esophageal exploration is recommended in case of significant risk of synchronous esophageal cancer (hypopharyngeal or oropharyngeal tumor, chronic alcohol intoxication) (grade B). The reference examination is flexible endoscopy of the upper digestive tract (grade B).
Conclusion: The present grade B recommendations rationalize the roles of the various first-line radiological and endoscopic examinations for remote metastasis and synchronous second cancer, so as to limit the number of examinations performed, thereby reducing the time needed for initial staging.
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