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Invited Commentary
November 2013

Improved Quality of Life and Function After Oropharyngeal Cancer Treatment

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Methodist Hospital, Omaha
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013;139(11):1108-1109. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2013.2774

The study by Dziegielewski, et al1 is a prospective collection of data from a cohort of patients who underwent transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for oropharyngeal cancer. The study was designed to assess quality of life (QOL) using the Head and Neck Cancer Inventory2 at baseline, 3 weeks, and 3, 6, and 12 months following TORS. In addition, an indirect assessment of swallowing function as measured by G-tube presence or absence was reported. Importantly, none of the subjects required G-tube placement or feeding tube following TORS. Seventy-six percent of those who did require a G-tube acquired it during radiation therapy. The authors found that G-tube dependency following TORS was less common in younger patients, those with fewer oropharyngeal subsites operated on, and those who did not receive adjuvant radiation therapy. This cohort analysis confirms previous reports that link extent of surgery and irradiation with decreasing short-term QOL and G-tube dependence. The authors also found that human papillomavirus (HPV) status did not correlate with any of the QOL domains.

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