Objectives: The objective of this review was to determine the rate and risk factors of paratracheal lymph node (PTLN) involvement during total laryngectomy (TL) or total pharyngolaryngectomy (TPL). In addition, we aimed to assess its prognostic significance in terms of survival and peristomal recurrence.
Methods: A comprehensive electronic search was performed on PubMed, EMBASE, and CENTRAL databases. We searched for studies reporting outcomes of PTLN dissection during radical laryngeal surgery for squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx, hypopharynx or cervical oesophagus.
Results: We included a total of ten studies (838 patients). The overall rate of PTLN dissection positivity was 18.6% (20.7% for primary TL, 8.7% for salvage TL). Random-effects meta-analysis identified T4 stage, N+ stage of the lateral neck, subglottis involvement and primary tumour arising from the hypopharynx or cervical oesophagus as significant risk factors for PTLN involvement.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis allowed to better define the risk of PTLN involvement during TL or TPL, in a bid to guide indication for PTLN dissection. There is a need for further large studies reporting rigorously the outcomes of PTLN dissection in order to establish stronger evidence-based recommendations.
Keywords: Central neck dissection; Level VI; Paratracheal lymph node dissection; Total laryngectomy; Total pharyngolaryngectomy.
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