Purpose: This study evaluated the strategy of performing neck dissection (ND) without primary tumor resection prior to definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT) for N2+ oropharynx cancer. Methods: We analyzed records of 25 patients who underwent ND before concurrent CRT with weekly low-dose concurrent paclitaxel and a platinum compound. The extent of ND was highly customized (1 to 39 nodes) and median radiotherapy dose was 70 Gy. Results: Median follow-up was 36 months. Two-year and 3-year actuarial locoregional control rates were 95% and 88%. No patient had regional neck nodal failure. Two-year rate of freedom from distant metastases was 91%. The 2- and 3-year event-free survival rates were 88% and 75%. Fifteen percent had Grade 3+ late toxicity; none had permanent gastrostomy tube dependence. Conclusions: Neck dissection without primary tumor resection before definitive chemoradiotherapy for oropharynx cancer is a safe and effective management program and warrants further exploration.
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