Overall, though, the study is a sign that neck dissection plays a key role in resolving residual neck disease, Dr. Dooley said. “Neck dissection remains important in the management of advanced head and neck malignancy treated primarily with chemo and radiation therapy,” she said. “This may be especially true in patients with tonsil primaries, though this area needs further evaluation and analysis that takes into account HPV and P16 (a protein that is a marker of HPV) status.”
Explore This IssueFebruary 2011
David Eibling, MD, professor and chair of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh and moderator of the session, said he was “intrigued” by the study. He asked Dr. Dooley whether there was any correlation between the pathology findings of patients evaluated with a CT scan or a PET scan.
Half of those with residual disease by CT scan or PET scan had a positive pathology report, Dr. Dooley explained. There were very few patients with PET scans so PET specificity and sensitivity were not evaluated, she added.