Commentary (Adelstein): The Role of Neck Dissection Following Definitive Chemoradiation
July 01, 2004
The recent recognition that theaddition of concurrent chemotherapyto definitive radiationcan improve locoregional control, organpreservation, and survival in patientswith squamous cell head andneck cancer has had a significant impacton our management choices.Chemoradiotherapy data from metaanalyses,cooperative group trials, andlarge tertiary care institutions now suggestthat there is a realistic potentialfor cure in almost all patients withlocoregionally confined disease, and thefocus has increasingly shifted towardthe impact of our treatments on longtermfunction. In the past, control ofneck node involvement often requireda comprehensive neck dissection, a procedureassociated with some degree oflong-term morbidity. In this review,Kutler, Patel, and Shah address the importantquestion of whether the neckdissection should be a planned componentin the management of patientstreated with definitive concurrentchemoradiotherapy.