Squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil has a relatively poor prognosis. Aggressive surgery, radiation therapy and combinations of irradiation and surgery have been employed but there exists some controversy about the efficacy of these treatment modalities. The purpose of this paper is to compare the efficacy of treatment between the surgery followed by radiation therapy and the preoperative radiation therapy followed by surgical resection. The medical records of 33 patients treated for squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil at the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Korea University Hospital between 1989-1993 were reviewed retrospectively. None of the patients were stage I, but stage II, III, and IV were four, five, and 24 patients, respectively. There were 30 males and three females. The most common histopathology was moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (20/33). The 13 patients treated initially with surgery had an overall three-year survival rate of 38.5%, and the rate for the 20 patients treated initially with radiation was 40%. The main pattern of treatment failure was a local recurrence and neck metastases, and pathologic differentiation thought to be an important prognostic factor. Complications are fewer in patients treated initially with surgery (23.1%) than patients initially treated with radiation (50.0%). There is no difference in the efficacy between the two therapeutic groups.
- Carcinoma, Squamous cell
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