ABSTRACT Introduction: for organ and function preservation, chemoradiotherapy is gaining popularity for primary treatment of advanced head and neck cancer, re- serveing surgery for salvage. Methods: Retrospective outcome analysis to determine the results of salvage surgery after failure of primary treatment of advan- ced head and neck cancer by chemoradiotherapy. 104 patients with advanced head and cancer were initially treated by chemoradiotherapy. Follow-up was evalu- ated in 27 patients undergoing salvage surgery for re- current tumor (larynx n = 13; oral cavity n = 9; hypo- pharynx n = 5). The initial tumor is stage T3 in 11 cases and T4 in 16 cases. 10 patients had primary tumors stage III and 17 patients had tumors stage IV. Results: One postoperative death occured following surgery. The overall incidence of complications was 9/ 27 (%). Recurrent disease developed at the primary initially treated in 25 cases and in the neck in 2 cases after a mean follow-up of 11 months (3 - 136 months). After salvage surgery, loco-regional recurrence and/ or distant disease developed in 10/27 patients after a mean follow-up of 4 months. 6/10 (60%) patients died after re-recurrence despite salvage chemotherapy. Conclusion: Salvage surgery after failure of initial chemoradiotherapy is burdened with high morbi- dity and bad oncological outcome. We demonstrated that it is difficult to salvage locally recurrent head and neck cancer especially at more advanced T-stages or when tumor recur. The limited effect of surgical salvage for recurrent tumor need to be addressed when choosing the initial treatment plan.
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