Occult nodal disease prevalence and distribution in recurrent laryngeal cancer requiring salvage laryngectomy

Andrew C. Birkeland, Andrew J. Rosko, Mohamad R. Issa, Andrew G. Shuman, Mark E. Prince, Gregory T. Wolf, Carol R. Bradford, Jonathan B. McHugh, J. Chad Brenner, Matthew E. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objectives The indications for neck dissection concurrent with salvage laryngectomy in the clinically N0 setting remain unclear. Our goals were to determine the prevalence of occult nodal disease, analyze nodal disease distribution patterns, and identify predictors of occult nodal disease in a salvage laryngectomy cohort. Study Design Case series with planned data collection. Setting Tertiary academic center. Subjects Patients with persistent or recurrent laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) after radiation/chemoradiation failure undergoing salvage laryngectomy with neck dissection. Methods We analyzed a single-institution retrospective case series of patients between 1997 and 2014 and identified those who had clinically N0 (cN0) necks (n = 203). Clinical and pathologic data, including nodal prevalence and distribution, were collected and statistical analyses performed. Results Overall, cN0 necks had histologically positive occult nodes in 17% (n = 35) of cases. Univariate predictors of occult nodal positivity included recurrent T4 stage (34% T4 vs 12% non-T4; P =.0003) and supraglottic subsite (28% supraglottic vs 10% nonsupraglottic; P =.0006). Histologically positive nodes associated with supraglottic primaries were most frequently positive in ipsilateral levels II and III (17% and 16%). Positive nodes for glottic LSCC were most frequently positive in the ipsilateral and contralateral paratracheal nodes (11% and 9%). Conclusion Histologically positive occult nodes are identified in 17% of cN0 patients undergoing salvage laryngectomy with neck dissection. Occult nodal disease varies in frequency and distribution based on tumor subsite. Predictors of high (>20%) occult nodal positivity include T4 tumors and supraglottic subsite. In glottic LSCC, the most frequent sites of occult nodal disease are the paratracheal nodal basins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-479
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • laryngectomy
  • neck dissection
  • node
  • occult disease
  • prevalence
  • salvage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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