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16.05.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2017

Clinical Oral Investigations 3/2017

Cervical metastases behavior of T1–2 squamous cell cancer of the oral mucosa

Clinical Oral Investigations > Ausgabe 3/2017
Keyvan Sagheb, Sebastian Blatt, Roman-Kia Rahimi-Nedjat, Simone Eigenbrodt, Bilal Al-Nawas, Christian Walter



The clinical management of the neck of patients with early-stage oral squamous cell cancer (OSCC) is still controversially discussed in the current literature. This study analyzes histo-clinical factors influencing the occurrence of cervical lymph node metastases (CM).

Materials and methods

In a retrospective mono-center study, patients with a primary T1–2 OSCC between 2000 and 2014 were analyzed regarding histo-clinical parameters possibly influencing the CM rate and the outcome.


Two hundred eighty-five patients (66 %) were male and 146 female (44 %), with a mean age of 60 ± 12 years at the time of diagnosis. Seventy-seven percent showed a positive risk profile (nicotine/alcohol) and 69 % underlying diseases. Forty-four percent of the patients were staged as T2 (30 % with CM). Advanced tumor size (T1 vs. T2) and grading (G1–2 vs. G3) were statistically significantly (p < 0.001) associated with the occurrence of CM. The localization within the oral cavity, age, gender, risk profile, or underlying diseases had no influence on CM occurrence. During the follow-up, tumor size (p = 0.001), CM (p < 0.001), and tumor relapse (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with a worse outcome.


Early-stage OSCC showed aggressive lymphatic metastatic behavior that depends on the size and the grading of the tumor.

Clinical relevance

A watch-and-wait policy as the primary management for cN0 may likely be inferior to a selective neck dissection for this patient group and should only be considered for very small tumors with a good differentiation.

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