Presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting at the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings of the Triological Society, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A., April 28–May 2, 2010.
Head and Neck
Article first published online: 31 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 The American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc.
Volume 121, Issue 11, pages 2381–2390, November 2011
How to Cite
Rich, J. T., Liu, J. and Haughey, B. H. (2011), Swallowing function after transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) ± adjuvant therapy for advanced-stage oropharyngeal cancer . The Laryngoscope, 121: 2381–2390. doi: 10.1002/lary.21406
The funding for this article was provided through private patient donation, Kathryn Trinkaus of the Biostatistics Core, Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center, and NCI Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA091842.
The authors have no conflicts of interests to declare.
The authors have no financial disclosures for this article.
- Issue published online: 21 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 31 AUG 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 SEP 2010
- Manuscript Received: 24 APR 2010
- Transoral laser microsurgery;
- base of tongue oropharynx;
- advanced stage oropharyngeal cancer;
- Level of evidence: 2b.
To perform a longitudinal description of swallowing function following transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) ± adjuvant therapy for advanced-stage oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) and identify prognostic factors associated with swallowing performance.
Retrospective analysis and longitudinal descriptive study of swallowing outcomes.
Patients treated with TLM for AJCC stage III–IV OPC at Washington University from 1996 to 2008 were included. A search of medical records and direct patient contact were performed to obtain swallowing function at multiple time points. Persistently poor swallowing at 2 year after surgery was the primary outcome measure. Two year swallowing outcomes stratified by tumor site and T stage are presented.
One hundred eighteen patients met criteria for the study (median follow-up 53.9 months). There were 44 T1's, 41 T2's, 23 T3's and 10 T4's. Forty seven percent received radiotherapy and 41% received chemoradiotherapy. Ninety-eight percent underwent neck dissection. Patients tolerated TLM well with 82% enjoying good swallowing at 1 month after surgery. During adjuvant therapy, at 3 months, good swallowing dropped to 55%. At 1 and 2 years after TLM, 89% and 88% of patients had good swallowing function, respectively. At 2 years, 9 patients had persistently poor swallowing function. 93% of patients with T1 through T3 enjoyed good swallowing at 2 years. T4 base of tongue disease was associated with persistently poor swallowing function in multivariate analyses (P = 0.0023), with 40% having good swallowing at 2 years. Preexisting comorbidities and conversion to an open procedure were associated with delayed return of swallowing function, but not with persistently poor swallowing. Seven patients developed late-onset swallowing dysfunction.
Treatment of advanced stage OPC with TLM ± adjuvant therapy results in excellent swallowing outcomes for patients with either T1 to T3 tonsil or T1 to T3 base of tongue resections. A detailed, longitudinal swallowing profile is presented to assist in preoperative counseling.