OBJECTIVE: To assess the oncologic effectiveness of the selective neck dissection (SND) in patients with both clinically and pathologically proven regional metastases. METHODS: A 4-year retrospective medical chart review was conducted in an academic tertiary care referral center. Twenty-nine patients with a newly diagnosed upper aerodigestive tract squamous cell carcinoma, and both clinically and histologically proven cervical metastases who underwent 36 SND, had their records reviewed. Minimum follow-up was 2 years. RESULTS: Regional metastasis were staged N1 in 13 patients, N2A in 1, N2B in 8, and N2C in 7. Seventeen supraomohyoid and 19 lateral neck dissections were performed. Extracapsular spread of tumor was present in 11 patients. Postoperative radiation therapy was administered to 20 patients. Actuarial disease-specific survival at 4 years was 47% overall, 67% in N1 patients, and 41% in N2 patients. Only 1 failure in the treated neck occurred for a 4-year actuarial regional failure rate of 4%. The actuarial local failure and distant metastasis rate were 36% each. CONCLUSIONS: In carefully selected patients with clinically and histologically apparent regional metastases, the selective neck dissection can be an oncologically effective procedure.
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