Results of a prospective study of positron emission tomography-directed management of residual nodal abnormalities in node-positive head and neck cancer after definitive radiotherapy with or without systemic therapy
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Background. The purpose of this study was to present our prospectively evaluated positron emission tomography (PET)-directed policy for managing the neck in nodepositive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (NSCC) after definitive radiotherapy (RT) with or without concurrent systemic therapy. Methods. One hundred twelve consecutive patients who achieved a complete response at the primary site underwent a 12-week posttherapy nodal response assessment with PET and diagnostic CT. Patients with an equivocal PET underwent a repeat PET 4 to 6 weeks later. Patients with residual CT nodal abnormalities deemed PET-negative were uniformly observed regardless of residual nodal size. Results. Median follow-up from commencement of RT was 28 months (range, 13-64 months). Residual CT nodal abnormalities were present in 50 patients (45%): 41 PET-negative and 9 PET-positive. All PET-negative residual CT nodal abnormalities were observed without subsequent isolated nodal failure. Conclusion. PET-directed management of the neck after definitive RT in node-positive HNSCC appropriately spares neck dissections in patients with PET-negative residual CT nodal abnormalities.
Head & Neck
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified