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June 1989

Treatment of the Clinically Negative Neck in Advanced Cancer of the Head and Neck

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Weissler, Weigel, and Silver), and Department of Radiation Oncology (Dr Rosenman), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(6):691-694. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860300045014

• The proper management of the clinically negative neck in primary squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck remains controversial. Although many clinicians believe that elective neck dissection or neck irradiation are equally effective for controlling subclinical disease, previous studies have not directly addressed this question. The charts of 195 patients with advanced primary squamous carcinoma, yet with clinically negative necks, were reviewed. There were no significant differences in the rates of neck cancer recurrence among the elective neck irradiation, dissection, and combined treatment groups. Elective neck irradiation and neck dissection in patients with clinically negative nodes seemed equivalent in their ability to control neck disease. The decision as to which form of therapy is preferable must therefore be based on other criteria.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1989;115:691-694)