Impact of Surgical Margin in Skull Base Surgery for Head and Neck Sarcomas

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ObjectiveThis study aimed to determine the adequate resection margin in skull base surgery for head and neck sarcoma.DesignWe retrospectively reviewed 22 sarcomas with skull base invasion. Induction chemotherapy, followed by surgery and postoperative radiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy, was performed in 18 patients with chemosensitive sarcomas, and surgery with or without postoperative radiotherapy was performed in four patients with chemoresistant sarcomas. Radical resection was performed in patients with chemosensitive sarcomas with a poor response to induction chemotherapy and in patients with chemoresistant sarcomas. Conservative resection with close surgical margin was performed in patients with chemosensitive sarcomas with a good response to induction chemotherapy.Setting and ParticipantsThis single-centered retrospective study included patients from the National Cancer Center Hospital, Japan.ResultsThe response to induction chemotherapy was significantly associated with the 3-year local control rate (LCR; good response versus poor response: 100% versus 63%, p = 0.048). Patients with a good response to chemotherapy had a favorable local prognosis even when the local therapy was conservative resection. In radical skull base surgery, patients whose surgical margins were classified as “wide margin positive” had significantly poorer 3-year LCR than did patients with “margin negative” or “micro margin positive” margins (25% versus 83%, p = 0.014).ConclusionConservative resection with close surgical margins might be acceptable for chemosensitive sarcomas with a good response to chemotherapy. Resection margin status was an important predictive factor for local recurrence after radical skull base surgery. Microscopic microresidual tumor might be controlled by postoperative treatment.

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