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This study aimed to evaluate the incidence of submandibular gland metastases in cases of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma.
Sixty-nine patients treated between 1 January 2004 and 30 June 2009 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were treated with wide local excision of the primary tumour, plus simultaneous neck dissection and reconstruction if required.
Of 69 submandibular glands from 46 men and 23 women (mean age, 58 years), 43 (62.3 per cent) had advanced, tumour stage three or four lesions. Histopathological reappraisal of all submandibular glands demonstrated an absence of metastatic spread. Only 2/69 (2.9 per cent) submandibular glands demonstrated ipsilateral contiguous tumour involvement.
This study demonstrated an absence of metastasis to the submandibular gland from oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Patients with early stage oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma and with a pre-operative node stage zero neck may be candidates for preservation of the submandibular gland during neck dissection.
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