Role of postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) in pT1-T2 N0 deep tongue cancers

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Carcinoma of tongue is associated with a high risk of occult metastasis and mortality despite early-stage detection and therapy; the critical tumor thickness at which this risk increases has been demonstrated as 4 mm or greater. There are no sufficient data in the published literature to evaluate the role of postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) in the treatment of pT1-T2 N0 oral tongue cancers with depth of invasion 4 mm or greater.

Study Design.

Historical cohorts of patients with primary pT1-T2 N0 oral tongue cancer of depth of invasion 4 mm or greater treated surgically from January 2010 to December 2012 were included in the study, and negative margins on initial resection were filtered. Locoregional recurrence and death were analyzed among the patients who received PORT and those who did not.


A total of 103 patients fulfilled the above-mentioned criteria, with 62 patients receiving PORT and 41 patients not receiving PORT; median period of follow-up was 41.3 months. Logistic and Cox regression models showed no significant difference in locoregional recurrences (P = .078) and survival (P = .339) between patients who received PORT and those who did not receive PORT.


PORT did not influence survival of patients with stage I and stage II deep tongue cancers, with 4 mm or greater tumor invasion depth.

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