To investigate the incidence of metastasis to facial lymph nodes (FLNs) and to determine its impact on the prognosis and survival of patients at onset of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). A retrospective review of 641 patients with OSCC treated with curative surgery (CS) alone or CS + postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) was performed. Based on FLN status, an analysis of clinicopathologic parameters, prognosis, and survival was conducted. By classifying patients according to FLN status, a reasonable treatment modality was identified in the low-risk group, which was defined as those who had N0–1 disease, negative margin, and no extracapsular nodal spread (ENS). FLN involvement was identified in 103 patients (16 %), which showed statistically significant associations with several established risk factors and negatively affected local controls (P < 0.001), neck controls (P < 0.001), and disease-specific survival (P < 0.001). Compared to CS alone, CS + PORT increased the 5-year neck control rate (76.8 vs. 30.7 %, P = 0.006) and disease-specific survival rate (67.8 vs. 30.7 %, P = 0.037) of the OSCC patients with FLN metastasis in the low-risk group. Metastasis to FLNs is strongly associated with poor disease control and lower survival rate of OSCC patients. PORT minimized the residual risk of involved FLN in the low-risk group.
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This study was supported by the Science & Technology support program from Hunan Provincial Science & Technology Department (No. 2013SK3204), as well as the program from the Health Department of Hunan Province (No. B2013-091) and Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars from Hunan Cancer Hospital (No. A2011-04).
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Conflict of interest
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