Supraomohyoid neck dissection in the treatment of T1/T2 squamous cell carcinoma of oral cavity

Am J Surg. 1994 Nov;168(5):391-4. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(05)80082-0.


Background: Recent studies in patients with previously untreated T1 and T2 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tongue and floor of the mouth have shown a relationship between tumor thickness, neck metastasis, and survival. Our study was conducted to determine the indication of elective neck dissection in patients with early oral cavity SCC.

Patients and methods: Sixty-seven patients were stratified by stage (T1 and T2 NO), and those in each stage were randomized to receive one of two types of treatment; resection alone (RA) or resection plus elective supraomohyoid neck dissection (RSOND). Fifty-two patients (78%) were men and 15 (22%) were women. The median age was 57 years old (range 34 to 95).

Results: Twenty-six (39%) patients had tumor in the floor of the mouth and 41 (61%), in the tongue. Using the criteria of the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer (UICC), 1987, we classified 31 tumors (46%) as T1 lesions and 36 (54%) as T2 lesions. Thirty patients had a tumor thickness < or = 4 mm and 37 had a tumor thickness > 4 mm. Thirty-three (49%) patients were treated with RA, and 34 patients (51%) were treated with RSOND. Seven (21%) patients of the RSOND group had occult cervical metastasis. There were recurrences in 14 (42%) patients of the RA group and 8 (24%) patients of the RSOND group. The disease-free survival rates at 3.5 years for RA and RSOND patients were 49%, and 72%, respectively. The impact of sex, age, site, cancer stage, and tumor thickness was assessed by the Mantel-Haenszel chi-square procedure. Later stage (P = 0.05) and increased tumor thickness (P = 0.005) were significantly associated with treatment failures.

Conclusion: Neck dissection remains mandatory in the early stage of oral SCC, because of better survival rates compared to RA and the poor salvage rate. In particular, patients with tumor thickness > 4 mm treated with RSOND had significant benefit on disease-free survival.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / mortality
  • Mouth Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Tongue Neoplasms / mortality
  • Tongue Neoplasms / surgery