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Survival outcomes following salvage surgery for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: systematic review

  • S S Kao (a1) and E H Ooi (a1) (a2)



Recurrent oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma causes great morbidity and mortality. This systematic review analyses survival outcomes following salvage surgery for recurrent oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.


A comprehensive search of various electronic databases was conducted. Studies included patients with recurrent or residual oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma treated with salvage surgery. Primary outcomes were survival rates following salvage surgery. Secondary outcomes included time to recurrence, staging at time of recurrence, post-operative complications, and factors associated with mortality and recurrence. Methodological appraisal and data extraction were conducted as per Joanna Briggs Institute methodology.


Eighteen articles were included. The two- and five-year survival rates of the patients were 52 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.


Improvements in treatment modalities for recurrent oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma were associated with improvements in two-year overall survival rates, with minimal change to five-year overall survival rates. Various factors were identified as being associated with long-term overall survival, thus assisting clinicians in patient counselling and selection for salvage surgery.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Stephen Shih-Teng Kao, ENT Head and Neck Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia, Australia E-mail:


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  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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