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Keywords:

  • overall disease free survival;
  • contralateral neck node metastases;
  • carcinoma tongue

Abstract

This paper presents the first report of an ongoing prospective randomised clinical trial in early T1T2N0 carcinoma of the oral tongue. The problems of regular follow-up in an indigent population from the vast rural expanse of India has been successfully overcome in this trial by close personal follow-up. The trial addresses itself specifically to prophylactic vs. therapeutic surgical management of the neck in T1T2N0 patients with cancer of the oral tongue. Overall disease, free survival (median follow-up 22 months) is higher (64% vs. 47%) in the group receiving prophylactic neck dissection. Disease-free survival for those with positive nodes at prophylactic neck dissection was twice that of those who underwent a subsequent therapeutic neck dissection (57% vs. 28%).

Contralateral neck node metastasis has been identified as a significant factor in neck failures in those patients undergoing simultaneous prophylactic neck dissection.