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There is limited information available regarding the benefits and outcomes of resection of pulmonary metastases arising from head and neck cancers.
A retrospective review was performed of 21 patients who underwent resection of pulmonary metastases of primary head and neck malignancies at Hamamatsu University Hospital. Clinical staging, treatment methods, pathological subtype (particularly squamous cell carcinoma), disease-free interval and overall survival were evaluated.
The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates of the study participants were 67.0 per cent and 55.0 per cent, respectively, as determined by the Kaplan–Meier method. The prognosis for patients with a disease-free interval of less than 24 months was poor compared to those with a disease-free interval of greater than 24 months (p = 0.0234).
Patients with short disease-free intervals, and possibly those who are older than 60 years, should be categorised as having severe disease. However, pulmonary metastases from head and neck malignancies are potentially curable by surgical resection.
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