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Angiosarcomas of the head and neck: clinical and pathologic characteristics.

Between 1974 and 1992, 32 patients with pathologically diagnosed angiosarcoma of the head and neck were evaluated at our institution. The primary treatment group consisted of 24 patients who had the initial diagnosis made or confirmed at our institution, and the other 8 patients formed the salvage group. There were 23 men and 9 women. The median age in the primary treatment group was 63 years (range 18 to 91 years). The overall median survival among the primary group patients was 4.8 years, and the 3-year survival was estimated to be 57% (95% confidence interval 39% to 84%). The median follow-up was 2.1 years (range 83 days to 9.7 years). Patients who had tumors less than 7.0 cm in diameter and tumors with invasion only to the subcutaneous tissues had better overall survival and longer time to first adverse event. Diploid DNA content was a significant favorable prognostic factor for time to first adverse event. Mitotic activity was of borderline significance with both end points. Patients who had tumors of less than 1.5 cm were treated successfully with surgery alone. Patients treated with combined surgery and radiotherapy also tended to do better. Because most patients in whom regional recurrences developed had tumors larger than 7.0 cm, we conclude that patients with tumors of this size may benefit from regional neck node dissection at the time of primary excision or from elective neck irradiation.

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