JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Preservation of ipsilateral submandibular gland is ill advised in cancer of the floor of the mouth or tongue.

Laryngoscope 2014 September
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Preservation of the submandibular gland (SMG) during a neck dissection is gaining popularity and is showing an increasing tendency. The potential benefit, if the SMG is preserved, can be manifold. The aim of this study was to assess the benefit of the preservation of the SMG and the associated risk of recurrent disease in patients with oropharyngeal or oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective data analysis of 168 patients, with a follow-up of at least 3 years.

METHODS: Log-rank test, univariate, and multivariate data analyses and P values for prediction of the excision of SMG on overall-, recurrence free-, and lymph node recurrence free survival.

RESULTS: In patients with cancer of the floor of the mouth or tongue, lymph node recurrence-free survival was highly influenced by excision of the SMG (P < 0.001) and occurred in 28.5% of patients in whom the SMG was preserved. In all other tumor sites of the oral cavity and oropharyngeal region, excision of the SMG did not influence lymph node recurrence-free survival (P = 0.455).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oral cavity or oropharyngeal region will benefit from preservation of the ipsilateral SMG. This is not true for patients with SCC of the surrounding tissue nearest the SMG (i.e., floor of the mouth or the tongue). In such patients, the SMG must be excised.

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