Definitive (chemo)radiotherapy is a curative alternative for standard of care in advanced stage squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity.



To compare outcome after definitive (chemo)radiotherapy (CRT group) with standard of care (surgery group) for advanced stage oral cavity carcinoma (OCC). Although definitive (chemo)radiotherapy is assumed to be inferior to surgery with regard to disease control, data on outcome of this approach are scarce.


Between the CRT-group (n = 100) and Surgery-group (n = 109), baseline characteristics were equally distributed except stage and local tumor diameter (all p ≤ .001). In the CRT group, at 5 years the LRC rate was 49%, DFS 22%, DSS 39% and OS 22%. In the surgery group, at 5 years the LRC rate was 77%, DFS 45%, DSS 64% and OS 45%. The survival curves of the two groups significantly differed for LRC (p < .001), DFS and DSS (p = .001) and OS (p = .002). After adjusting for confounders and prognostic factors, we found a significant difference between the treatment groups in LRC (adjusted HR = 2.88, 95%CI 1.35-6.16, p = .006). Within 100 days, 5 patients (5%) died from treatment-related toxicity in CRT group and 1 patient after surgery (p = .21).


Although surgery with adjuvant radiotherapy for advanced stage OCC results in favorable locoregional control, definitive (chemo)radiotherapy is a curative alternative in patients often considered beyond cure and should be considered when surgery is not feasible.


Retrospective analysis by chart review (2000-2013). Endpoints were locoregional control (LRC), disease-free survival (DFS), disease specific survival (DSS) and overall survival (OS).

More about this publication

Oral oncology
  • Volume 75
  • Pages 163-168
  • Publication date 01-12-2017

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