publication date: Mar. 15, 2019

Clinical Roundup

UAMS study shows potential to alter neck dissection surgery in head and neck cancer 

A study led by University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences surgeon Brendan Stack has shown the potential to alter neck dissection surgeries in about 21 percent of head and neck cancer patients.

Stack served as co-investigator on the international study examining the effectiveness of PET/CT scans in determining whether a patient’s cancer has spread to their lymph nodes. The study’s results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Neck dissection, which involves an incision across the neck, is required to remove the positive nodes. If a patient’s cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes, neck dissection surgery may not be required, reducing the patient’s pain and recovery time.

“Our study showed that when a patient has negative nodes on a PET/CT scan, 96 percent of the time the result is truly negative,” Stack, professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, said in a statement. “With a high level of confidence, we can say to a patient that if your neck is negative on PET/CT, there is probably no need for a neck dissection.”

While it was commonly assumed by physicians that a negative scan of the neck meant there was no need for a neck dissection as part of cancer therapy, this assumption had never before been established in a prospective, multi-institution trial.

The study was conducted from Aug. 2010 to Dec. 2016 in 23 centers around the world. Of the total 287 patients enrolled, 42 were from UAMS.

“More patients participated in this study at UAMS than at any … Continue reading UAMS study shows potential to alter neck dissection surgery in head and neck cancer

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