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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Radiation Oncology 1/2018

Nodal failure patterns and utility of elective nodal irradiation in submandibular gland carcinoma treated with postoperative radiotherapy - a multicenter experience

Radiation Oncology > Ausgabe 1/2018
Cheng-En Hsieh, Li-Yu Lee, Yung-Chih Chou, Kang-Hsing Fan, Ngan-Ming Tsang, Joseph Tung-Chieh Chang, Hung-Ming Wang, Shu-Hang Ng, Chun-Ta Liao, Tzu-Chen Yen, Ku-Hao Fang, Chien-Yu Lin
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13014-018-1130-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The patterns of nodal relapse in submandibular gland carcinoma (SMGC) patients treated with postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) remain unclear. This study aims to investigate the nodal failure patterns and the utility of elective nodal irradiation (ENI) in SMGC patients undergoing PORT.


We retrospectively enrolled 65 SMGC patients who underwent PORT between 2000 and 2014. The nodal failure sites in relation to irradiation fields and pathological parameters were analyzed. ENI regions were categorized into three bilateral echelons (first, levels I–II; second, level III; and third, levels IV–V). Extended ENI was defined as coverage of at least the immediately adjacent uninvolved echelons bilaterally; otherwise, limited ENI was administered.


Thirty patients (46%) were stage III–IV, and 18 (28%) were pN+. Neck irradiation included limited (72%) and extended ENI (28%). With a median follow-up of 79 months, 11 patients (17%) developed nodal failures (ipsilateral, N = 6; contralateral, N = 7), 7 (64%) of whom relapsed in the adjacent uninvolved echelons. We identified pN+ (P = 0.030), extranodal extension (ENE, P = 0.002), pT3–4 (P = 0.021), and lymphovascular invasion (LVI, P = 0.004) as significant predictors of contralateral neck recurrence. Extended ENI significantly improved regional control (RC) in patients with pN+ (P = 0.003), ENE (P = 0.022), pT3–4 (P = 0.044), and LVI (P = 0.014), and improved disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with pN+ (P = 0.034). For patients with ≥2 coincident adverse factors, extended ENI significantly increased RC (P < 0.001), distant metastasis-free survival (P = 0.019), and DFS (P = 0.007); conversely, no nodal recurrence was observed in patients without these adverse factors, even when only the involved echelon was irradiated.


Nodal failure is not uncommon in SMGC patients treated with PORT if pN+, ENE, pT3–4, and LVI are present. Extended ENI should be considered, particularly in patients with multiple pathological adverse factors.
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