Background: We compared the outcome of postoperative unilateral cervical nodes radiotherapy (UL-RT) vs bilateral cervical nodes plus total mucosal irradiation (COMP-RT) in the management of head and neck carcinoma of unknown primary (HNCUP).
Methods: HNCUP, defined by the absence of primary despite a PET-CT combined with a panendoscopy, were treated with curative intent by initial ipsilateral neck dissection. Sixty-nine patients with unilateral HNCUP were included: 23 received UL-RT while 46 received COMP-RT. Carcinologic outcomes and long-term quality of life (QOL) according to the QOL Questionnaire for Head and Neck 35 were assessed.
Results: Within 6.3 years of median follow-up, there was no significant difference in primary tumor emergence rate (P = .68), cervical node recurrence rate (P = .34), or overall survival (P = .33) between UL-RT and COMP-RT groups. A trend toward QOL improvement was observed in the UL-RT group.
Conclusion: UL-RT seems to provide similar outcomes as COMP-RT in unilateral HNCUP management.
Keywords: carcinoma unknown primary; head and neck; postoperative radiotherapy; quality of life.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.