Salvage surgery for advanced stage head and neck squamous cell carcinoma following radiotherapy or chemoradiation.



Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical outcome after salvage surgery for recurrent advanced stage HNSCC following primary radiotherapy or chemoradiation.


Salvage surgery for recurrent advanced stage head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is known to result in poor prognosis. As there are only small and heterogeneous studies available with wide variety in outcome measures, our purpose was to select and pool literature according to specific criteria.


Salvage surgery for recurrent advanced stage head and neck squamous cell carcinoma after primary (chemo)radiotherapy is a good last resort curative treatment option, resulting in 37% overall survival at 5 years. As data from advanced stage non-laryngeal tumors were sparse, no solid conclusions can be drawn with regard to outcome differences between tumor subsites.


16 of 3956 screened studies were included for analysis (729 patients). Pooled 5-year OS was 37% (95% CI 30-45%, 12 studies, 17 outcome measurements, 540 patients). Outcome was presented for larynx (6 studies, 397 patients), hypopharynx (2 studies, 47 patients), larynx and hypopharynx combined (3 studies, 69 patients) or separately (1 study, 134 patients), oral cavity (1 study, 11 patients), oropharynx (1 study, 34 patients) and multiple subsites combined (2 studies, 37 patients). There was no significant difference in survival outcome between subsites (pheterogeneity = 0.8116). The pooled tumor-positive resection margin rate was 32% and pooled re-operation rate 17%. Complication rates from the pooled data were: fistulas 33%, wound infections 24% and flap failure 3%. Treatment-related mortality rate was 1% and mean hospital stay was 23 days.

More about this publication

European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
  • Volume 276
  • Issue nr. 3
  • Pages 647-655
  • Publication date 01-03-2019

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