Reduction of the number of neck treatments in patients with head and neck cancer

Cancer. 1993 Apr 1;71(7):2312-8. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19930401)71:7<2312::aid-cncr2820710723>;2-#.


With modern diagnostic imaging techniques, the head and neck oncologist is faced with increasing information on the status of neck nodes of patients with head and neck cancer. It is often difficult to include this new diagnostic information in clinical management because strategies of neck treatment date from times when only clinical examination was available. Computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasonography (US) may provide information on the status of neck nodes. In the University Hospital Leiden and the University Hospital Rotterdam, US of the neck, when combined with ultrasonographic fine-needle aspiration biopsy (US-UGF-NAB), has proved to be an accurate diagnostic test for nodal disease. The combined procedure is characterized by high sensitivity and specificity. Therefore, this technique is suited for detecting, demonstrating, and excluding nodal metastases. This article will discuss how to interpret the new diagnostic information supplied by US-UGFNAB. A different approach in the clinical management of the neck, based on techniques from the field of clinical decision analysis, will be presented. It is concluded that US-UGFNAB is a promising concept of methodic use of both cytologic examination and an imaging technique in the examination of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the upper aerodigestive tract. Application of the test may produce an accurate classification of patients with a head and neck tumor and change indications for elective and therapeutic neck treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Decision Making
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography