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Swallowing Function in Survivors of Oropharyngeal Cancer Is Associated With Advanced T Classification.

Harms A, Kansara S, Stach C, Richardson PA, Chen G, Lai S, Sikora AG, Parke R, Donovan D, Chiao E, Skinner H, Sandulache VC. Swallowing Function in Survivors of Oropharyngeal Cancer Is Associated With Advanced T Classification. The Annals of otology, rhinology, and laryngology. 2019 Aug 1; 128(8):696-703.

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OBJECTIVES: The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is rapidly increasing in the United States. The aim of this study was to characterize the functional status of OPSCC survivors to identify predictors of swallowing dysfunction in this patient population. METHODS: OPSCC survivors (n = 81) treated at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center between 2005 and 2015 with at least 2 years of clinical follow-up were reviewed. Functional status was ascertained using (1) gastrostomy and tracheostomy placement and retention, (2) gastrostomy use at last follow-up, (3) patient-reported diet, and (4) modified barium swallow. RESULTS: Median follow-up duration was 5.6 years; 67% of patients had 10-pack-year tobacco exposure; 96% of tumors for which p16 data were available were p16 positive. At last follow-up, 82% of patients reported a regular diet, and only 9 patients required gastrostomy use. Gastrostomy use at last follow-up was higher in patients with T3 and T4 tumors compared with those with T1 and T2 tumors ( = .01). The relationship between T classification and gastrostomy use persisted even when the analysis was limited to p16+ tumors and p16+ tumors with 10-pack-year history of tobacco exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Advanced T classification at presentation is a critical predictor of gastrostomy use in long-term OPSCC survivors irrespective of p16 status or tobacco exposure history. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2b.

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