• This retrospective study compared elective neck dissection with elective neck radiotherapy for the control of subclinical nodal metastases. Four hundred ninety-eight patients with head and neck primary cancers and no clinically apparent neck metastases on initial presentation comprised the study population. Each patient was followed up for at least 5 years to detect failure to control neck metastases and control of the primary tumor at the time of neck recurrence. Analysis of neck recurrences occurring in patients with control of the primary tumor showed that there was no statistically significant difference between elective radiation therapy to the neck and elective neck dissection for oral cavity, oropharyngeal, and laryngeal cancers. The only statistically significant difference was noted for hypopharyngeal cancers, with radiation therapy being more effective than surgery.
(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115:981-984)
Chow JM, Levin BC, Krivit JS, Applebaum EL. Radiotherapy or Surgery for Subclinical Cervical Node Metastases. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(8):981-984. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860320091025