In a retrospective review of an inception cohort of 26 patients with an isolated, previously untreated, moderately to well-differentiated invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the lateral tongue base, consecutively managed with an extended lateral pharyngotomy approach at a single tertiary referral care center, the authors review the key surgical points, highlight the potential technical pitfalls, and document the complications and long-term functional and oncological outcomes in terms of survival and local control.The adjunctive measures included induction chemotherapy, ipsilateral neck dissection, and postoperative radiotherapy, used in 96.1%, 96.1%, and 38.5% of patients, respectively. All patients but 2 were followed for at least 5 years or until death (maximum, 158 months).The significant postoperative complications included pharyngocutaneous fistula in 3 patients (11.5%) and hemorrhage requiring reoperation, partial flap necrosis, and pneumonia from aspiration in 1 patient (3.8%) each. In univariate analysis, no significant statistical relationship was noted between the significant postoperative complications noted and the variables under analysis. Overall, successful oral alimentation was achieved in 100% of patients by the first postoperative month without gastrostomy, tracheotomy, or completion total laryngectomy. There were no intraoperative or perioperative deaths. The main causes of death were metachronous second primary tumor, intercurrent disease, and distant metastasis, resulting in 84.6%, 64%, and 46.9% 1-, 3-, and 5-year Kaplan-Meier actuarial survival estimates, respectively. Two patients (7.6%) had local recurrence, resulting in 100%, 86.7%, and 86.7% 1-, 3-, and 5-year Kaplan-Meier actuarial local control estimates, respectively. As a function of T stage, the 3- and 5-year actuarial local control estimates were 100%, 87.5%, and 90.9% in patients with tumors classified as T1, T2, and T3-T4a, respectively.Such results suggest that extended lateral pharyngotomy should be integrated among the various conservative treatment options available to patients with selected carcinomas of the lateral tongue base.
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View details for PubMedID 19663374