(ChemotherapyAdvisor) –Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) in conjunction with appropriate adjuvant therapy “achieves excellent functional results for patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma,” results of study in the March 2012 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings concluded. Oncologic outcomes were found to be equivalent or superior to results of other surgical and nonsurgical treatments.

Investigators followed 66 patients with SCC arising in the tonsil or base of tongue treated with TORS as primary therapy or as part of combined therapy for a minimum of 2 years. Oncologic outcomes — including local, regional, and distant control and disease-specific and recurrence-free survival — were determined at ≥24 months follow-up. Presenting tumor stage, histopathologic factors, surgical margins, and adjuvant treatment extent were evaluated. Functional outcomes included gastrostomy tube dependence and tracheostomy dependence.

Within three weeks following surgery and prior to initiation of adjuvant therapy, 64 patients (97%) were able to eat orally. Long-term gastrostomy tube use was required in 3 patients (4.5%), and long-term tracheotomy in 1 (1.5%). Three-year estimated local control was 97% and regional control, 94%. Two-year disease-specific survival was 95.1% and recurrence-free survival, 92.4%, they reported.

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Continuing research involving multiple medical centers will investigate TORS in a larger population of patients with oropharyngeal cancer.