Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers – surgical remedies

Oral cavity and oropharyngeal most cancers had been grouped beneath the time period oral most cancers however at the moment are thought of two distinct cancers due to variations in danger elements, prognosis, and scientific administration. They kind a part of a broader head and neck most cancers (HNC) grouping which represents the 7th commonest most cancers on the earth with greater than 660,000 new instances per yr. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption and betel quid chewing are frequent danger issue for HNC whereas nasopharyngeal most cancers is related to Epstein Barr virus (EBV), and oropharyngeal most cancers is more and more related to human papillomavirus (HPV). Prognosis of HNC is principally at a sophisticated stage, with implications for remedy and prognosis. Surgical procedure performs an vital half in administration of oral cavity and oropharyngeal most cancers and could also be mixed with radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy/ biotherapy.

The purpose of this Cochrane overview replace was to judge the relative advantages and harms of various surgical remedy modalities for oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers.


Searches had been carried out within the Cochrane Oral Well being’s Trials Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Managed Trials (CENTRAL) Medline, Embase, the US Nationwide Institutes of Well being Ongoing Trials Register (ClinicalTrials.gov) and the World Well being Group Worldwide Scientific Trials Registry Platform with no restrictions on the language or date of publication. Randomised managed trials (RCTs) evaluating two or extra surgical approaches or surgical procedure versus different remedies in sufferers with major tumours of the mouth or throat had been thought of. Main outcomes had been total survival, disease-free survival, locoregional recurrence, and recurrence; and our secondary outcomes had been adversarial results of remedy, high quality of life, direct and oblique prices to sufferers and well being companies, and participant satisfaction.  Normal Cochrane information assortment and evaluation procedures had been adopted.  Survival information was reported as hazard ratios (HRs), with HR of mortality for total survival the mixed HR of latest illness, development, and mortality for disease-free survival. GRADE was used to evaluate certainty of proof for every final result.


  • 15 RCTS had been included involving 2820 randomised sufferers with 2583 analysed.
  • 4 trials had been thought of to be at excessive danger of bias, 3 at low danger, and eight at unclear danger.
  • 9 comparisons had been in contrast within the trials, none evaluating completely different surgical approaches for excision of the first tumour.
  • 5 trials evaluated elective neck dissection (ND) versus therapeutic (delayed) ND in individuals with oral cavity most cancers and clinically adverse neck nodes. In contrast with therapeutic ND Elective ND most likely improves: –
    • total survival HR = 0.64 (95percentCI: 0.50 to 0.8) [ 4 trials, 883 patients, moderate certainty].
    • disease-free survival HR = 0.56 (95% CI: 0.45 to 0.70); [5 trials, 954 patients, moderate certainty].
  • most likely reduces: –
    • locoregional recurrence HR = 0.58 (95percentCI: 0.43 to 0.78); [4 trials, 458 p patients; moderate certainty] and
    • recurrence RR = 0.58 (95percentCI: 0.48 to 0.70) [3 trials, 633 patients; moderate certainty].
  • Elective ND might be related to extra adversarial occasions (danger ratio (RR) =1.31 (95percentCI: 1.11 to 1.54) [2 trials, 746 patients; moderate certainty].
  • 2 trials evaluated elective radical ND versus elective selective ND in individuals with oral cavity most cancers, however we had been unable to pool the information because the trials used completely different surgical procedures.
  • 2 trials evaluated tremendous selective ND versus selective ND, however we had been unable to make use of the information.
  • One trial evaluated positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) following chemoradiotherapy (with ND provided that no or incomplete response) versus deliberate ND (earlier than or after chemoradiotherapy) in 564 sufferers. There may be most likely no distinction between the interventions in
    • total survival, HR = 0.92 (95percentCI: 0.65 to 1.31; reasonable certainty) or
    • locoregional recurrence, HR = 1.00 (95percentCI: 0.94 to 1.06; reasonable certainty).
  • One trial evaluated surgical procedure plus radiotherapy versus radiotherapy alone and offered very low-certainty proof of higher total survival within the surgical procedure plus radiotherapy group (HR = 0.24, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.59; 35 sufferers). The info had been unreliable as a result of the trial stopped early and had a number of protocol violations.
  • One trial evaluated surgical procedure versus radiotherapy alone for oropharyngeal most cancers in 68 sufferers. There could also be little or no distinction between the interventions for total survival (HR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.09 to 7.46; low certainty) or disease-free survival (HR =1.07, 95% CI 0.27 to 4.22; low certainty). For adversarial occasions, there have been too many outcomes to attract dependable conclusions.
  • One trial evaluated surgical procedure plus adjuvant radiotherapy versus chemotherapy. We had been unable to make use of the information for any of the outcomes reported (very low certainty).


The authors concluded: –

We discovered moderate-certainty proof based mostly on 5 trials that elective neck dissection of clinically adverse neck nodes on the time of elimination of the first oral cavity tumour is superior to therapeutic neck dissection, with elevated survival and disease-free survival, and lowered locoregional recurrence. There was moderate-certainty proof from one trial of no distinction between positron emission tomography (PET-CT) following chemoradiotherapy versus deliberate neck dissection by way of total survival or locoregional recurrence. The proof for every of the opposite seven comparisons got here from just one or two research and was assessed as low or very low-certainty.


This Cochrane overview updates an earlier model (Dental Elf – 14th Jan 2019) and consists of 4 new research one among which we’ve coated in an earlier weblog (Dental Elf – 29th Jan 2019). The findings of this up to date overview and different evaluations (Dental Elf – 29th Jun 2020) favour elective neck dissection. Whereas extra RCTs at the moment are being carried out the reviewers spotlight the necessity to enhance the standard of their reporting by following the CONSORT tips, utilizing hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals for survival information, or current information that enable it to be calculated. In addition they recommend that reporting of adversarial occasions ought to be constant and standardised and integral to trials of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers together with different final result measures akin to health-related high quality of life, well being economics, and useful resource use.


Main Paper  

Worthington HV, Bulsara VM, Glenny AM, Clarkson JE, Conway DI, Macluskey M. Interventions for the remedy of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers: surgical remedy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2023 Aug 31;8:CD006205. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006205.pub5. PMID: 37650478.

Different references

Dental Elf – 14th Jan 2019

Mouth and throat most cancers: proof for finest surgical approaches unsure

Dental Elf – 29th Jan 2019

Elective neck dissection for early stage oral most cancers?

Dental Elf – 29th Jun 2020

Elective neck dissection versus commentary for T1-2 oral squamous cell carcinoma



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