Date: 24 Sep 2010

Survival patterns in patients with carcinoma base of tongue treated with external beam irradiation and salvage surgery

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The current study was designed to assess the treatment results and survival in the patients with carcinoma of base of tongue that were treated with primary radiotherapy, radiotherapy with chemotherapy and salvage surgery when indicated.


A prospective study was carried out in 78 cases of carcinoma of the base of tongue between 1995 and 1999.


The majority of cases belonged to stage IV 60/78 (76.92%) as per AJCC staging. Radiotherapy in the dose of 60 Gy was given primarily to the patients with stage III tongue base cancer. Patients with early stage IV cancer were given split course radiotherapy followed by assessment for surgery. For the patients with advanced stage IV disease with poor general condition, palliative radiotherapy of 24 Gy with or without palliative chemotherapy was given. 15 patients were subjected to salvage surgery in the form of radical neck dissection alone (8 cases), extended total laryngectomy with neck dissection (3 cases), extended total laryngectomy (2 cases) and extended supraglottic laryngectomy with RND in 2 cases.


Two and 5 years Kaplan — Meier actuarial survival rates were 45% and 10% respectively with local control rates equivalent to survival rates. All surviving patients maintained good function and quality-of-life with few tolerable side effects.


External beam radiotherapy with salvage surgery results in satisfactory local and regional control in stage III and IV carcinoma base of tongue.