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WPOI-5: Accurately Identified at Intraoperative Consultation and Predictive of Occult Cervical Metastases.

Head and Neck Pathology 2023 Februrary 29
BACKGROUND: Frozen section analysis of oral cancer specimens is ideal for assessing margin distances and depth of invasion (DOI); the latter impacts intraoperative decisions regarding elective neck dissection (END). Here, we show that intraoperative determination of worst pattern of invasion (WPOI), specifically WPOI-5, has a high level of accuracy. This relates to our demonstration herein that WPOI-5 predicts occult cervical metastases (OCM) for pT1 oral squamous carcinoma (OSC).

METHODS: The presence of OCM was correlated with WPOI in 228 patients with primary T1/T2/cN0 OSC undergoing resection and END. Concordance between intraoperative and final pathology WPOI determination was assessed on 51 cases of OSC.

RESULTS: WPOI-5 predicts OCM in pT1 patients, compared with WPOI-4/WPOI-3 (p < 0.0001). Most pT1 WPOI-5 tumors had DOI of 4-5 mm (24/59 or 40.7%). Only two pT1 WPOI-5 tumors had DOI < 4 mm (3.0 and 3.5 mm). If END were performed in this pT1 cohort for all WPOI-5 OSC patients regardless of DOI, OR all OSC patients with DOI ≥ 4 mm regardless of WPOI, then no OCM would be missed (p = 0.017, 100% sensitivity, 29% specificity, 77% positive predictive value, 23% negative predictive value). With respect to intraoperative WPOI-5 determination, the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity was 92.16, 73.33, and 100.0%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: DOI ≥ 4 mm is the dominant predictor of OCM. For the rare WPOI-5 OSC with DOI < 4 mm, it is reasonable to suggest that surgeons perform END. WPOI-5 may be accurately determined intraoperatively. As microscopic instruction is needed to accurately assess WPOI-5, a teaching link is included in this manuscript.

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