Patterns of Regional Recurrence and Salvage Treatment in Patients With Oral Cancer

Eyal Yosefof*, Ohad Hilly, Sagit Stern, Gideon Bachar, Thomas Shpitzer, Aviram Mizrachi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Regional failure after primary treatment for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) carries a dismal outcome. Our goal was to investigate the recurrence patterns and salvage treatment in patients with OSCC and regional failure. Study design: Retrospective chart review of all patients treated for OSCC in a university-affiliated tertiary care center during 2000-2018. Methods: Data collected from patients’ medical charts included demographics, clinical and pathological features, staging, treatment modalities and outcomes. Patients with insufficient data or a follow-up of less than 2 years were excluded. Results: Out of 266 surgically treated patients, 55 developed regional recurrence and were included in the study cohort. Forty patients received surgical salvage treatment followed by adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy (CRT). Disease specific survival and overall survival were significantly higher in surgically treated patients compared to patients who received non-surgical treatment (46.7% vs. 0%, log-rank P value <.001 and 35.3% vs. 0%, log-rank P value =.001, respectively) and in patients who recurred regionally more than 10 months following initial treatment (40.8% vs 10.7%, log-rank P value =.065). Patients with early recurrence were older (73.6 vs. 61.3 years) and had a deeper invasion of the primary tumor (10.1 vs. 7 mm). Conclusions: Salvage neck dissection is feasible in most cases, providing the best outcomes in patients with OSCC who fail regionally. Close follow-up during the first year after initial treatment is paramount as early recurrence carries a dismal prognosis. Specifically, elderly patients and patients with deeper primary tumor invasion should be closely monitored during the first post-operative year. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 132:786–792, 2022.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-792
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Oral cancer
  • chemo-radiotherapy
  • neck dissection
  • regional failure
  • salvage treatment


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