Larynx-Sparing Radiotherapy for Squamous Cell Carcinoma From an Unknown Head and Neck Primary Site

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of larynx-sparing radiotherapy (RT) alone or in combination with a neck dissection for patients with squamous cell carcinomas metastatic to cervical lymph nodes from an unknown head and neck primary site. Seventeen patients were treated with curative intent between 1997 and 2002; 16 of 17 patients had follow up for at least 2 years. No patient developed a squamous cell carcinoma in a head and neck mucosal site after treatment. One patient (6%) had persistent nodal disease and 1 patient (6%) had recurrent nodal disease 1year after completing RT. No patients experienced distant metastases. The 5-year cause-specific and overall survival rates were 88% and 82%, respectively. Based on our limited experience, larynx-sparing RT appears to result in a high likelihood of local–regional control and survival and likely reduces both acute and late toxicity.

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