Limited neck dissection: is it enough in early oral tongue cancer? Retrospective study


  • Subbiah Shanmugam Center of Surgical Oncology, Government Royapettah Hospital, Royapettah, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Prem Kishore Center of Surgical Oncology, Government Royapettah Hospital, Royapettah, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India



Selective neck dissection, Comprehensive neck dissection, Clinically nonpalpable neck node, Clinically palpable neck node, Pathological negative node, Pathological positive node


Background: The objective of the present study was to analyze the outcome of clinically node-negative early oral tongue cancer after selective neck dissection (SND) versus conventional neck dissection (CND).

Methods: A total of 116 patients of early oral tongue cancer underwent neck dissection either SND or CND between 1st January 2013 to 31st December 2016 at Government Royapettah Hospital, Chennai, a tertiary level cancer center. For patients with pN0 after SND had no further procedure while for those with cN1 disease, CND was done as a standard procedure. Comparison between the cN0 nodes to pN1 conversion rates in SND group with cN1 to pN0 rates in CND group was done along with the morbidity rates. The clinicopathological parameters along with intraoperative and postoperative parameter relevant to recurrence were analyzed by univariant and multivariant analysis and both the groups were compared by Chi-square test (SPSS version 26.0).  

Results: In the SND group, pN1 were 2/53 (3.77%) and in the CND group pN1 was 11/63 (17.46%). Mean Nodal retrieval in SND group was 18.96 nodes and in CND group 22.90 nodes per case. Regional nodal recurrences in the SND group were 8/53 (15.81%) and in the CND group was 9/63 (14.28%). Our study shows no significant statistical difference between nodal recurrences in CND and SND group.

Conclusions: Our study data suggests that for cN1 patients, SND may be optimal and early tongue cancer patients with cN0 could be candidates for an SND instead of CND.


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