Cutaneous metastatic squamous cell carcinoma to the parotid gland: analysis and outcome

Nathalie Audet, Carsten E Palme, Patrick J Gullane, Ralph W Gilbert, Dale H Brown, Jonathan Irish, Peter Neligan
Head & Neck 2004, 26 (8): 727-32

BACKGROUND: Our aim was to review the presentation, treatment, and outcome of patients with metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma involving the parotid gland at a tertiary referral center.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of the cancer registry at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, from 1970 to 2001. All patients had a previously untreated metastatic cutaneous head and neck squamous cell carcinoma involving the parotid gland. A minimal follow-up of 1 year was mandatory for inclusion in the study.

RESULTS: Fifty-six white patients (43 men and 13 women), with a median age of 76 years (range, 49-97 years), were eligible for inclusion. The disease in all patients was retrospectively staged according to a new system. Twenty patients had P1 disease, 14 had P2, and 22 had P3. Therapy included surgery and adjuvant external beam radiation in 37 patients, single-modality external beam radiation in 12, and surgery alone in seven patients. The overall recurrence rate was 29%. The disease-specific survival was significantly worse in patients treated with external beam radiation alone (p <.05). Tumor size >6 cm (p <.01) and the presence of facial nerve involvement (p <.01) were poor prognostic factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma to the parotid gland is an aggressive neoplasm that requires combination therapy. The presence of a lesion in excess of 6 cm or with facial nerve involvement is associated with a poor prognosis.

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