Importance: Surgical salvage may be the only viable treatment option for recurrent tumors of the oropharynx. To our knowledge, there have been no published reports directly comparing the oncologic and functional outcomes of patients with recurrent oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) treated with transoral robotic-assisted surgery (TORS) with those treated with traditional open surgical approaches.
Objective: To compare the oncologic and functional outcomes of patients with recurrent oropharyngeal SCC treated with TORS with those treated with traditional open surgical approaches.
Design: Retrospective multi-institutional case-control study; study dates, March 2003 through October 2011.
Setting: Four tertiary care institutions (University of Alabama at Birmingham; M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; and Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan). PARTICIPANTS Sixty-four patients who underwent salvage TORS for recurrent oropharyngeal SCC were matched by TNM stage to 64 patients who underwent open salvage resection. INTERVENTION OR EXPOSURE: Salvage TORS for recurrent SCC of the oropharynx.
Main outcome and measures: Patient demographics, operative data, functional, and oncologic outcomes were recorded and compared with a similarly TNM-matched patient group that underwent salvage surgical resection by traditional open surgical approaches. RESULTS Patients treated with TORS were found to have a significantly lower incidence of tracheostomy use (n = 14 vs n = 50; P < .001), feeding tube use (n = 23 vs n = 48; P < .001), shorter overall hospital stays (3.8 days vs 8.0 days; P < .001), decreased operative time (111 minutes vs 350 minutes; P < .001), less blood loss (49 mL vs 331 mL; P < .001), and significantly decreased incidence of positive margins (n = 6 vs n = 19; P = .007). The 2-year recurrence-free survival rate was significantly higher in the TORS group than in the open approach group (74% and 43%, respectively) (P = .01).
Conclusions and relevance: This study demonstrates that TORS offers an alternative surgical approach to recurrent tumors of the oropharynx with acceptable oncologic outcomes and better functional outcomes than traditional open surgical approaches. This adds to the growing amount of clinical evidence to support the use of TORS in selected patients with recurrent oropharyngeal SCC as a feasible and oncologically sound method of treatment.