Presented at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological and Society, Scottsdale, Arizona, May 12–17, 1997.
Surgery versus radiation therapy as single-modality treatment of tonsillar fossa carcinoma: The roswell park cancer institute experience (1971–1991)†
Article first published online: 20 OCT 2009
Copyright © 1998 The Triological Society
Volume 108, Issue 7, pages 1014–1019, July 1998
How to Cite
Hicks, W. L., Kuriakose, M. A., Loree, T. R., Orner, J. B., Schwartz, G., Mullins, A., Donaldson, C., Winston, J. M. and Bakamjian, V. Y. (1998), Surgery versus radiation therapy as single-modality treatment of tonsillar fossa carcinoma: The roswell park cancer institute experience (1971–1991). The Laryngoscope, 108: 1014–1019. doi: 10.1097/00005537-199807000-00012
- Issue published online: 20 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 20 OCT 2009
- Tonsillar carcinoma;
Objective: To compare the efficacy and treatment outcomes in patients with tonsillar fossa cancer using surgery or radiation as a single modality therapy. Methods: From 1971 to 1991 239 patients with oral pharyngeal cancer were treated at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Of these patients 90 had tonsillar carcinoma. Seventy-six of these patients received either surgery (SA) (n = 56) or radiation therapy (RA) (n = 20) as single-modality therapy and are the subject of this review. All patients in the radiation arm of this review were surgical candidates who declined primary surgical therapy. Results: Sixty-three percent of the SA and 80% of the RA treatment groups presented with either stage III or stage IV disease (P ⩽ .05). Forty-seven percent of the SA group and 52% of the RA patients had clinically positive regional disease at initial presentation. There was a predictable pattern of nodal presentation, with level II the most frequently involved region. The rate of occult metastasis was 27% and was evenly distributed between T1 and T4 disease. The overall local control rate in the SA group was 75%, compared with 60% in the RA group (P value was not significant). The disease-specific survival (all stages) was 61% in the SA group and 37% in the RA group (P ⩽ .05). The disease-free survival for stage III and stage IV disease in the SA group was 47% and in the RA group 27% (P ⩽ .05). Survival measured against clinical response to radiation therapy, in complete responders (all stages) was 83%; by contrast there were no survivors past 24 months in the partial response group (P ⩽ .001). Conclusion: The results from this study suggest that for early disease (stage I/II), surgery or radiation therapy as single-modality treatment is equally effective. For advanced disease radiation therapy is inferior to surgery as a single-modality treatment, as measured by ultimate survival and the local control of disease. There is, however, a subset of patients with advanced disease who respond to radiation therapy and whose survival is equivalent to our surgical cohort of patients.