Prophylactic neck dissection in squamous cell carcinoma of oral tongue: a prospective randomized study

Semin Surg Oncol. 1989;5(5):327-30. doi: 10.1002/ssu.2980050507.


This paper presents the first report of an ongoing prospective randomised clinical trial in early T1T2N0 carcinoma of the oral tongue. The problems of regular follow-up in an indigent population from the vast rural expanse of India has been successfully overcome in this trial by close personal follow-up. The trial addresses itself specifically to prophylactic vs. therapeutic surgical management of the neck in T1T2N0 patients with cancer of the oral tongue. Overall disease, free survival (median follow-up 22 months) is higher (64% vs. 47%) in the group receiving prophylactic neck dissection. Disease-free survival for those with positive nodes at prophylactic neck dissection was twice that of those who underwent a subsequent therapeutic neck dissection (57% vs. 28%). Contralateral neck node metastasis has been identified as a significant factor in neck failures in those patients undergoing simultaneous prophylactic neck dissection.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Glossectomy
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / surgery*