Radiotherapy as initial treatment for carcinomas of tonsillar region

F. Volterrani, D. Sigurta, C. Uslenghi, F. Chiesa, R. Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We reviewed 186 carcinomas of the tonsillar region, i.e., the lateral wall of the oropharynx, treated from January 1959 to December 1973 at this Institute. In 148 patients (79.6%) the primary tumor and the lymphatic areas were treated with 60Co-teletherapy (TCT). In 15 cases (8.1%) the primary lesion was removed by transoral surgery, followed by irradiation of the tonsillar region and lymphatic areas with TCT. In 23 patients (12.3%) the primary tumor was treated with interstitial curietherapy, after which a radical homolateral neck dissection was performed on 10 of them; the neck was not treated in the remaining 13 cases, initially N0. As far as the cases initially treated with TCT alone are concerned, disease-free survival at 5 years was 42.5% for T1 cases and under 30% for T2, T3, whereas it was only 6.5% for T4. The most frequent failure cause of TCT was local relapse, isolated or associated with a nodal relapse. Local failures were nearly always central. On the contrary, if the field extension was adequate, there were very few nodal failures, at least in initially N0 or N1 cases. Our study recommends a revision of the current attitude towards the treatment of carcinomas of the tonsillar region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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