John Libbey Eurotext

Bulletin du Cancer


Salvage surgery for locoregional recurrences of head and neck cancers Volume 91, issue 11, Novembre 2004

Département d’oto-rhino-laryngologie et de chirurgie cervicofaciale, Institut Gustave-Roussy, 39 rue Camille-Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif

Surgery of locoregional failures is mainly represented by salvage surgery after radiotherapy. Due to progress of radiotherapy, especially modification of fractionation and association with chemotherapy, the problem of salvage surgery is nowadays emphasized. Despite the reduction of postoperative mortality and morbidity by the use of myocutaneous flaps the complications are still frequent and the rehabilitation long and difficult. Oncologic results are disappointing too, especially in salvage surgery for oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal tumors with less than a half of patients being candidates for salvage surgery and 5 year survival rates inferior to 30% in these patients. Laryngeal tumors are more favorable for salvage surgery but in the majority of the cases recurrences after radiotherapy require a total laryngectomy. The poor postoperative, functional and oncologic results after salvage surgery, especially in pharyngeal tumors must be taken into account for the decision of primary treatment. Regarding the important locoregional aggressivity of squamous cell carcinomas of the upper aerodigestive tract, these results must be kept in mind when preservation protocols are in question.