Evaluation of a post-treatment follow-up program in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma
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The duration and the frequency of follow-up after treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma are not standardized in the current literature. The purpose of this study was to evaluate our local standard post-treatment and follow-up protocol.
Materials and methods
Overall, 228 patients treated curatively from 01/2006 to 07/2013 were reviewed. To evaluate the follow-up program, data on the secondary event were used. To determine risk groups, all patients with tumor recurrence were specifically analyzed. Relapse-free rate were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier product limit method. The chi-square test was used to identify independent risk factors for tumor relapse.
In total, 29.8 % patients had a secondary event. The majority of the relapse cases (88.2 %) were detected within 2 years postoperatively, 61.8 % of them within the first year. Most events were local recurrences (34.7 %). UICC-stage IV was significantly associated with tumor recurrence (p = 0.001). Gender (p = 0.188), age (p = 0.195), localization (p = 0.739), T-stage (p = 0.35), N-stage (p = 0.55), histologic grade (p = 0.162), and tobacco and alcohol use (p = 0.248) were not significantly associated with tumor recurrence. Patients with positive neck nodes relapsed earlier (p = 0.011). The majority of relapses (86.3 %) were found in asymptomatic patients at routine follow-up.
The results of this study suggest an intensified follow-up within the first 2 years after surgery.
Given the higher relapse rate of patients exhibiting an UICC-stage IV and/or positive neck nodes, it seems to be from special interest to perform in this group a risk-adapted follow-up with monthly examinations also in the second year.
KeywordsOral squamous cell carcinoma Follow-up Tumor recurrence Risk groups
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that that they have no conflict of interest.
No funding was secured for this study.
Ethical standards were considered when performing the presented study. All patients gave written consent to the evaluation of their records. Prior to starting the presented study, we asked the local ethics committee of the Medical Faculty of the University Jena for approval. We were informed that ethical approval is not required as the presented study bases on routinely performed and retrospectively evaluated medical records.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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