Objectives: The primary aim of this study is to compare the effect of using tumor thickness versus depth of invasion (DOI) to determine the 8th edition AJCC T-category on survival in a large cohort of OSCC.
Materials and methods: A retrospective cohort study of patients whose clinicopathologic information had been collected prospectively into a dedicated head and neck database. 927 patients with oral SCC were identified in this cohort, with the final study population including 456 patients with complete information on DOI, tumor thickness, T and N staging and follow-up.
Results: 26 (5.7%) patients had a different AJCC 8 T category when using thickness instead of depth. 15 were upstaged from T1 to T2, 10 upstaged from T2 to T3 and 1 down staged from T2 to T1. Additionally, similar stratification of disease-specific and overall survival curves were found for T category based on DOI and thickness.
Conclusion: The T category and TNM stage prognostic performance of 8th edition AJCC staging of oral cancer is similar regardless of whether DOI or thickness is used as the T-category modifier. In centers without complete DOI data it is reasonable to impute thickness for retrospective survival analyses using the 8th edition of the AJCC staging system.
Keywords: AJCC 8; Depth of invasion (DOI); Disease-specific survival; Oral SCC; Overall survival; Staging; T category; Thickness.
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