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Salvage of recurrence after surgery and adjuvant therapy: A systematic review. Am J Otolaryngol 2018;39(2):223-227



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85041593096 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   15 Citations


PURPOSE: To determine the oncologic and functional outcomes of patients undergoing salvage surgery for recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma after initial management with surgery and adjuvant therapy.

DATA SOURCES: Ovid Medline, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and

REVIEW METHODS: A structured search was performed of the literature to identify studies that included patients undergoing surgical salvage for local, regional, or locoregional recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma without known distant metastases who had been treated with initial surgery and post-operative adjuvant radio- or chemoradiotherapy. Studies were excluded if they did not report at least 1-year survival estimates, included patients who underwent primary non-surgical management, or included those treated with non-surgical salvage therapies or supportive care alone.

RESULTS: The search strategy yielded 3746 abstracts. After applying exclusion and inclusion criteria, 126 full-texts were reviewed and six studies were included with a total of 222 patients. All studies were retrospective in design and included diverse disease subsites and stages. Complications and functional outcomes were inconsistently reported. Five-year survival estimates ranged between 10% and 40% between studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing salvage surgery for recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma after initial surgery and adjuvant therapy may have a particularly poor prognosis. Future studies are needed to determine functional and quality of life outcomes in this patient population and to identify specific prognostic factors for re-recurrence and survival.

Author List

Zenga J, Gross J, Fowler S, Chen J, Vila P, Richmon JD, Varvares MA, Pipkorn P


Joseph Zenga MD Assistant Professor in the Otolaryngology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Chemoradiotherapy, Adjuvant
Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
Oropharyngeal Neoplasms
Postoperative Period
Salvage Therapy