Objectives: Map regional lymph node metastases for lateralized oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC) and evaluate factors associated with regional metastases and recurrence.
Materials and methods: Retrospective cohort study of 715 patients with lateralized OCSCC surgically treated in 1997-2011. Analysis was performed using log-rank, Kaplan-Meier, and multivariable logistic and Cox regression.
Results: Regional metastases were identified in ipsilateral levels IIA (24%), IB (18%), III (13%), V (9%), IV (7%), IA (2%) and IIB (1%) and the contralateral neck (3%). Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) (Hazard Ratio [HR] 2.2, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.2-3.9) and T category (T3 vs. T1: HR 4.1, 95% CI 1.9-9.3; T4 vs. T1: HR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2-4.3) were associated with regional metastases. Most (71%) isolated regional metastatic recurrences were in undissected levels of the neck, including 58% in levels IV and V. Tumors of the hard palate (HR 4.3, 95% CI 1.2-16.1), upper alveolus (HR 3.2, 95% CI 1.0-4.7) or with LVI (HR 2.0, 95% CI 1.0-3.9) were associated with isolated regional recurrence. For upper alveolar/hard palate tumors, depth of invasion (DOI) ≥4 mm (P = .003) and LVI (P = .04) were associated with regional metastases.
Conclusions: For lateralized OCSCC, elective neck dissection of level IIB or the contralateral neck may rarely be needed, but additional surgical or radiation treatment of levels IV and V may be considered based on patient risk factors, including T category 3-4 or LVI. For upper alveolar/hard palate tumors, DOI ≥4 mm is an appropriate threshold for elective neck dissection.
Keywords: Lateralized; Metastases; Oral cancer; Oral cavity; Regional; Squamous cell carcinoma.
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