Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) ± adjuvant therapy for advanced stage oropharyngeal Cancer: Outcomes and prognostic factors

Jason T. Rich, Simon Milov, James S. Lewis, Wade L. Thorstad, Douglas R. Adkins, Bruce H. Haughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Document survival, prognostic variables, and functional outcomes of patients with AJCC stage III or IV oropharyngeal cancer, treated with transoral laser microsurgery (TLM)± adjuvant therapy. Study Design: Analysis of prospectively assembled data pertaining to the above-described patient cohort. Methods: Patients treated with TLM for AJCC stage III or IV oropharyngeal cancer at Washington University School of Medicine from 1996 to 2006 were followed for a minimum of 2 years. Recurrence, survival, functional, and human papilloma virus data were analyzed. Results: Eighty-four patients met inclusion criteria. Mean follow-up was 52.6 months. Overall AJCC stages were: III 15% and IV 85%. T stages were T1-2, 74%; T3-4, 26%. Eighty-three patients underwent neck dissection, 50 received adjuvant radiotherapy, and 28 received adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Overall survival at 2 and 5 years was 94% and 88%, respectively. Disease-specific survival at 2 and 5 years was 96% and 92%, respectively. Six patients recurred (7%): locally (one), regionally (four), and distant (five). T stage, positive margins, and p16 status significantly impacted survival. The addition of adjuvant chemotherapy in high-risk patients did not significantly impact survival. Five patients (6%) had major surgical complications, but without mortality. Eighty-one percent of patients had acceptable swallowing function at last follow-up. Immediately postoperatively, 17% required G-tubes, which dropped to 3.4% of living patients at 3 years. Conclusions: In this population, our findings validate TLM ± adjuvant therapy as a highly effective strategy for survival, locoregional control, and swallowing recovery in AJCC stage III and IV oropharyngeal cancer. Our finding also show that p16 positivity improves survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1719
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Advanced stage oropharyngeal cancer
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Human papilloma virus
  • P16
  • Tongue base
  • Tonsil
  • Transoral laser microsurgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) ± adjuvant therapy for advanced stage oropharyngeal Cancer: Outcomes and prognostic factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this