Aims: To determine the clinical characteristics, pathological features, local and distant failure patterns in patients with carcinoma of major salivary glands treated with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy (PORT).
Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed 106 cases of major salivary gland tumor seen at our centre (1998-2008). Sixty five cases of major salivary gland carcinoma were selected for analysis (exclusions: benign, palliative, non-carcinomas). The patient population treated by surgery and PORT was divided into two groups: 1) Patients who underwent surgery and immediate PORT (Primary PORT); 2) Patients with recurrent carcinoma who underwent at least two surgeries and received PORT in the immediate post-operative period of the last performed surgery (Recurrent PORT). Recurrence free survival (RFS) was assessed using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results: Median age was 35 years with a male: female ratio of 1.3:1. The majority of cancers were located in the parotid gland (86.2%) and the most common histology was mucoepidermoid carcinoma (43%). Thirty nine cases (60%) were primary while 26 (40%) were recurrent. Optimal surgery was performed in 59/65 patients (90.8%). 43 patients (66.2%) underwent neck dissection, of which 14 (32.5%) had nodal metastasis. Overall, 61 (93.8%) patients complied with the prescribed radiotherapy. Median dose of PORT was 60 Gy. Median follow-up was 13.1 months (range 2-70). Relapse free survival was 50.4% at 60 months. Some 12 cases (18.5%) recurred with a median time to recurrence of 16.9 months.
Conclusions: Surgery and PORT is an effective treatment for major salivary gland carcinoma with over 90% compliance and <20% recurrence. Early treatment with postoperative radiotherapy may increase the survival rate in major salivary gland carcinoma patients.