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The Indications for Elective Neck Dissection in T1N0M0 Oral Cavity Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Nguyen, McKenzie, Clarke, Lou, and Singh

Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 2021

The management of the clinically node-negative neck in T1 oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is controversial. The purpose of this study was to investigate tumor characteristics of surgically managed patients with T1N0 oral cavity SCC and determine the possible benefits of elective neck dissection (END)


There is little data published for management outcomes of the node-negative neck in stage I oral squamous cell carcinoma. Given salvage neck dissection carries a poorer prognosis, END should be recommended for all T1N0 oral SCC with DOI >= 3 mm. In cases of DOI < 3 mm undergoing primary ablation only, a staging neck dissection as a second procedure should be considered in the presence of poor tumor differentiation or PNI on final histology.

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