External beam irradiation alone or combined with neck dissection for base of tongue carcinoma: An alternative to primary surgery


  • Presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, New Orleans, La., October 11–15, 1993.


From 1964 to 1990, 134 patients were treated at the University of Florida with continuous-course external beam irradiation, alone or followed by a planned neck dissection, for T1 (n = 17), T2 (n = 47), T3 (n = 49), or T4 (n = 21) carcinoma of the base of tongue.

The 5-year rate of local control was 90% for stage T1, 92% for T2, 73% for T3, and 35% for T4. Probability of control above the clavicles at 5 years according to modified American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage was 100% for stages I and II, 75% for stage III, 84% for stage IVa, and 52% for stage IVb. Probability of relapse-free survival at 5 years was 100% for stages I and II, 68% for stage III, 81% for stage IVa, and 37% for stage IVb. Severe complications occurred in 2% of patients.

Compared with surgical resection of the primary tumor, external beam radiotherapy results in similar rates of local control and survival with a lower risk of severe complications.