Tumor Satellites Are Associated With Poor Outcome in Patients With Oral Cancer

Eyal Yosefof*, Sharon Tzelnick, Leemor Wallach, Yuval Miller, Yulia Strenov, Gideon Bachar, Thomas Shpitzer, Aviram Mizrachi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Tumor satellites are defined as islands of tumor cells completely separated from the border of the main tumor. They are believed to be a sign of aggressive disease. Our goal was to investigate the association between tumor satellites and outcome in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma. Materials and Methods: A retrospective analysis of all patients treated for oral squamous cell carcinoma at a university-affiliated tertiary care center between 2010 and 2018 was performed. Data collected included demographics, clinical and pathological features including tumor satellites, staging, treatment modalities, and outcomes. Results: A total of 144 patients were included. The mean age of all patients was 63.5 and 50.7% were males. The mean follow-up time was 40.5 months. Seventeen patients (11.8%) had tumor satellites. These patients had a higher rate of involved margins, peri-neural invasion, lympho-vascular invasion, and extra-nodal extension. Tumor, nodal and overall classification were significantly more advanced in patients with satellites. Disease-specific and overall survival rates were significantly lower among satellites patients (28.7% vs. 59.7% and 28.7% vs. 54.9%, respectively). Conclusions: Tumor satellites are associated with several adverse features and advanced locoregional disease. Patients with satellites should be treated aggressively with a combination of surgery aimed at achieving free surgical margins and adjuvant treatment, as they have a worse prognosis compared with patients without satellites. Further prospective studies are mandatory to consolidate the importance of adjuvant treatment in these patients. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 133:336–343, 2023.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • disease-free survival
  • disease-specific survival
  • oral cancer
  • overall survival
  • tumor satellites


Dive into the research topics of 'Tumor Satellites Are Associated With Poor Outcome in Patients With Oral Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this