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Keywords:

  • base of tongue;
  • cancer;
  • surgery;
  • transhyoid approach;
  • prognosis

Abstract

Background

The optimal treatment for base of tongue cancer remains unclear, especially in advanced stages.

Methods

We retrospectively review 84 previously untreated patients that underwent a transhyoid resection of a base of tongue carcinoma. Sixty-four patients (76%) underwent postoperative radiotherapy.

Results

Five patients had stage II disease, 6 had stage III, 58 had stage IVA, and 15 had stage IVB. The overall recurrence rate was 68%. Five-year disease-specific survival rates by stage were 100%, 67%, 27%, and 8% for stage II to IVB, respectively (p = .0007). Multivariate analysis showed that the presence of lymph node metastases was an independent predictor of reduced disease-specific survival rates (p = .02). All patients maintained an intelligible voice, and oral alimentation was successfully recovered in 97.5% of them.

Conclusions

The transhyoid approach allowed adequate resection of base of tongue cancers with low morbidity and acceptable functional results, but the oncologic outcomes in advanced stages are poor. Head Neck, 2011