Pathology of surgery after induction chemotherapy: an analysis of resectability and locoregional control

Laryngoscope. 1986 Mar;96(3):292-302. doi: 10.1288/00005537-198603000-00011.


At the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Clinic, 114 previously untreated patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (17% stage III; 83% stage IV) were managed with induction chemotherapy using cis-platinum, bleomycin, and methotrexate, followed by definitive extirpative surgery and/or radiation therapy. The present report evaluates this group from a surgical and surgical pathology standpoint. The following aspects are evaluated: predictability of, and conversion to, resectability during induction chemotherapy; ease of surgical technique and intraoperative assessment; patterns of pre-op and post-op risks and complications; gross and histopathologic observations of the extent and character of residual primary and nodal disease, particularly after a response to chemotherapy; patterns of locoregional control or failure related to treatment variables. The issues subsequently addressed include: how does chemotherapy affect the operative candidacy and resectability of proposed surgical patients? Could, or should surgery be eliminated in the management of some patients treated with induction chemotherapy? Can less radical surgery be contemplated in patients significantly "downstaged" by prior chemotherapy treatment? Is increased locoregional or distant metastatic control observed in these patients? What is the role of surgery in the responder to chemotherapy?

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Neck Dissection
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Radiotherapy