Carcinoma of the soft palate and anterior tonsillar pillar

Charles R. Leemans*, Willem J. Engelbrecht, Rammohan Tiwari, Walter L.J.M. Devillé, Abdul B.M.F. Karim, Isaac Van Der Waal, Gordon B. Snow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The results after treatment of a total of 52 patients between 1974 and 1990 for squamous cell carcinoma of the soft palate and anterior tonsillar pillar by surgery, radiotherapy, or a combination of the two are reported in the present study. Of the 45 patients who were treated for cure, 38 were treated by surgery, followed by radiotherapy in 19 patients (50%). Five patients received definitive radiotherapy only, and 2 were treated by other modalities such as intra-arterial methotrexate and carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Absolute and determinant 5-year survival rates were 62% and 77%, respectively. Sixty-four percent of patients survived 5 years recurrence-free, and 27% developed multiple primary tumors in the head and neck. Tumor stages III and IV were shown to decrease survival by half compared to stages I and II. A 42% occult nodal metastases rate was observed, and 3 of 11 patients experienced regional relapse in an untreated neck. From this review it appears that surgery, combined with postoperative radiotherapy when indicated, is an effective form of treatment for carcinoma of the soft palate and anterior tonsillar pillar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1481
Number of pages5
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1994

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