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Role of Tonsillectomy in the Management of Carcinomas of Unknown Primary of the Head and Neck: A Retrospective Study Based on p16 Analysis

Abstract : Purpose: To evaluate the impact of tonsillectomy on the detection of the primary tumor, based on p16 immunohistochemistry analysis, in patients with cervical unknown primary of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC-CUP). Methods: This was a retrospective study of 63 patients, included from January 2008 to December 2017 in a single institution. All patients had an initial assessment with physical examination, CT scan of the neck and chest, whole body FDG-PET CT, and endoscopy under general anesthesia, which failed to determine the primary tumor. Results: Forty-seven out of the 63 patients had an ipsi- or bilateral tonsillectomy which revealed 12 tonsil cancers (26%). The tonsil primary was ipsilateral to positive nodes in 10 cases, contralateral in 1 case and, in 1 case, the patient had bilateral neck involvement. The analysis of the p16 status was carried out in 41/63 patients (65%). Among the 32 patients who had a p16 analysis and tonsillectomy, the rate of primary detection was 59% (10/17) for p16-postives and 0% (0/15) for p16-negatives (p < 0.001). Conclusion: These results suggest that an extended work-up should be systematically proposed including bilateral tonsillectomy (+/- mucosectomy of the base of tongue) in SCC-CUP p16-positive patients but not in p16-negatives.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03106191
Contributor : Christine Dupuis <>
Submitted on : Monday, January 11, 2021 - 4:12:00 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 3:35:06 AM

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Pauline Podeur, Julien Mancini, Jean Delgrande, Laure Santini, Sébastien Salas, et al.. Role of Tonsillectomy in the Management of Carcinomas of Unknown Primary of the Head and Neck: A Retrospective Study Based on p16 Analysis. Frontiers in Oncology, Frontiers, 2020, 10, pp.594168. ⟨10.3389/fonc.2020.594168⟩. ⟨inserm-03106191⟩

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