Transoral laser microsurgery for the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer: The Dalhousie University experience

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Abstract

Objective: The optimal treatment strategy for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is highly debated. However, growing evidence supports the use of minimally invasive techniques, such as transoral laser microsurgery (TLM), as a first-line treatment modality for these carcinomas. The purpose of our study was to assess the efficacy and safety of TLM for the treatment of primary and recurrent oropharyngeal carcinomas. Methods: All patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma undergoing TLM at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia were identified within a prospective database monitoring TLM outcomes. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to evaluate the following end points at 36 months: local control (LC), disease-specific survival (DSS), and disease-free survival (DFS). Safety endpoints included complications following surgery and long term morbidity related to TLM. Results: Between 2003 and 2014, 39 patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma underwent TLM resection. Twenty-eight (72 %) patients had primary carcinoma, nine (23 %) were radiation/chemoradiation (RT/CRT) failures, and two (5 %) had second primaries following previous RT/CRT. Three patients had stage I disease, 8 stage II, 5 stage III, and 23 stage IV disease. HPV status was available for 26 patients, of which 23 (88 %) had HPV positive disease. Kaplan-Meier estimates of 36-month LC, DSS, and DFS for primary oropharyngeal carcinomas were 85.5 % (SE 10.6 %), 85.7 % (SE 13.2 %) and 77.7 % (SE 12.5 %) respectively. Thirty-six-month outcomes for RT/CRT failures were 66.76 % (SE 15.7 %) for LC and 55.6 % (SE 16.6 %) for DSS and DFS. Three patients developed complications following surgery. Conclusions: Observed 36-month efficacy and safety outcomes support the use of TLM for the treatment of primary and recurrent oropharyngeal carcinoma.

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Melong, J. C., Rigby, M. H., Bullock, M., Hart, R. D., Trites, J. R. B., & Taylor, S. M. (2015). Transoral laser microsurgery for the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer: The Dalhousie University experience. Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 44(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40463-015-0093-3

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