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Prognostic role of resection margin in open oncologic laryngeal surgery: survival analysis of a cohort of 139 patients affected by squamous cell carcinoma


Introduction: The treatment of laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma needs accurate risk stratification, in order to choose the most suitable therapy. The prognostic significance of resection margin is still highly debated, considering the contradictory results obtained in several studies regarding the survival rate of patients with a positive resection margin. Objective: To evaluate the prognostic role of resection margin in terms of survival and risk of recurrence of primary tumour through survival analysis. Methods: Between 2007 and 2014, 139 patients affected by laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma underwent partial or total laryngectomy and were followed for mean of 59.44 ± 28.65 months. Resection margin status and other variables such as sex, age, tumour grading, pT, pN, surgical technique adopted, and post-operative radio- and/or chemotherapy were investigated as prognostic factors. Results: 45.32% of patients underwent total laryngectomy, while the remaining subjects in the cohort underwent partial laryngectomy. Resection margins in 73.39% of samples were free of disease, while in 21 patients (15.1%) anatomo-pathological evaluation found one of the margins to be close; in 16 subjects (11.51%) an involved resection margin was found. Only 6 patients (4.31%) had a recurrence, which occurred in 83.33% of these patients within the first year of follow-up. Disease specific survival was 99.24% after 1 year, 92.4% after 3 years, and 85.91% at 5 years. The multivariate analysis of all covariates showed an increased mortality rate only with regard to pN (HR = 5.043; p = 0.015) and recurrence (HR = 11.586; p = 0.012). Resection margin did not result an independent predictor (HR = 0.757; p = 0.653). Conclusions: Our study did not recognize resection margin as an independent prognostic factor; most previously published papers lack unanimous, methodological choices, and the cohorts of patients analyzed are not easy to compare. To reach a unanimous agreement regarding the prognostic value of resection margins, it would be necessary to carry out meta-analyses on studies sharing definition of resection margin, methodology and post-operative therapeutic choices.