Carcinoma metastatic to cervical lymph nodes from an occult primary tumor: the outcome after combined-modality therapy.Ann Surg Oncol. 2007 May; 14(5):1575-82.AS
The aim of this retrospective analysis was to analyze the results of treatment of patients with cervical node metastases from carcinoma of occult primary with a policy including neck dissection and postoperative comprehensive radiotherapy.
Ninety patients were treated with curative intent from 1990 to 2002.
The actuarial rate of neck disease control was 68.8% at 5 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 58.9%-78.7%). On multivariate analysis, the rate of neck disease control was significantly related to lymph nodal metastatic level (P = .006). The actuarial rate of developing head and neck primary tumors at 5 years was 8.9% (95% CI, 2.6%-15.2%). The 5-year actuarial rate of distant metastases was 19.1% (95% CI, 9.4%-28.9%). In multivariate analysis, a statistically significant difference in the rate of distant metastasis was obtained when patients were stratified according to the level of nodal involvement (P = .01) and the presence of extracapsular extension (P = .013). At the time of analysis, 50 of the 90 patients were alive. A total of 32 (35.6%) had died from causes related to their primary disease. Actuarial disease-specific survival at 2 and 5 years was 73.6% (95% CI, 64.3%-82.9%) and 62.8% (95% CI, 51.9%-73.7%), respectively. In multivariate analysis, a statistically significant difference in disease-specific survival was obtained when patients were stratified according to the level of nodal involvement and the presence of extracapsular extension.
Our study seems to support the use of combined-modality therapy in patients with neck metastases from carcinoma of occult primary. However, in the absence of randomized trials, comprehensive irradiation cannot be routinely advised.