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Keywords:

  • Transoral robotic surgery;
  • oropharyngeal carcinoma;
  • head and neck;
  • human papilloma virus;
  • squamous carcinoma;
  • Level of Evidence: B.2; review of independent cohort studies.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

Our objective was to determine the safety, feasibility, and the adequacy of surgical margins for transoral robotic surgery (TORS), by reviewing the early results from independent institutional review board-approved clinical trials in three separate institutions.

Study Design:

Pooled Data from Independent Prospective Clinical Trials.

Methods:

One hundred ninety-two patients were initially screened, but inadequate exposure did not permit TORS in 13 (6.7%). For two additional patients, TORS was begun but intraoperatively converted to an open procedure. Thus, the intent-to-treat population was 177 patients (average age, 59 years; 81% male), predominantly comprised of tumors arising in the oropharynx (139, 78%) and larynx (26, 15%). TORS was performed for 161 (91%) patients with malignant disease: 153 (95%) with squamous cell carcinoma (T1 [50, 32.7%], T2 [74, 48.4%], T3 [21, 13.7%], T4 [8, 5.2%]), six patients (3.72%) with salivary gland tumors, and two patients with carcinoma in situ. The average follow-up was 345 days.

Results:

There was no intraoperative mortality or death in the immediate postoperative period. Average estimated blood loss was 83 mL; no patient required transfusion. The rate of positive margins was 4.3%. Twenty-nine patients (16%) experienced 34 serious adverse events that required hospitalization or intervention (grade 3) or were considered life threatening (grade 4, 2.3%). Tracheostomy was performed in 12.4% of all patients (22/177), but only 2.3% had a tracheostomy at last follow-up. For all patients undergoing TORS without previous therapy, the percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy dependency rate was 5.0%. The average hospital stay was 4.2 days.

Conclusions:

Based on this multicenter study, TORS appears to be safe, feasible, and as such play an important role in the multidisciplinary management of head and neck cancer.