Management of the neck in patients with T1 and T2 cancer in the mouth

G. I. Smith, Chris J. O'Brien*, J. Clark, K. F. Shannon, A. R. Clifford, E. B. McNeil, K. Gao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Our aim in this restrospective study was to evaluate the extent of control of metastatic disease in the neck and the survival of patients with T1 and T2 oral cancer. Methods: All 171 patients with T1 and T2 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in the mouth were identified from our computerised database. All had had primary tumours resected and 21 patients with palpable neck nodes had therapeutic neck dissections. Among 150 patients with no palpable nodes, 75 had elective neck dissections, and 75 were observed. The decision to do an elective neck dissection was based on clinical criteria and was not randomised. Results: Cervical nodes contained metastases in 17 of 21 patients who had therapeutic, and 27 of 75 who had elective, neck dissections. Neck metastases developed subsequently in 15 of 75 patients in the observed group, and 9 of these were salvaged by therapeutic neck dissection. The 5-year disease free survival was 19/21 after therapeutic dissection, 72/75 after elective dissection, and 69/75 in the observed group. Patients with cervical nodal metastases had significantly reduced 5-year survival compared with those without (63% and 91%, P = 0.003).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-500
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Elective neck dissection
  • Metastatic SCC
  • Oral cavity
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Supraomohyoid dissection


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