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Tonsillectomy Pre-Radiation Ups Survival in Early Tonsil CA

FRIDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with stage I and II primary tonsil carcinoma, radiotherapy after tonsillectomy is associated with improved overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS), compared with radiotherapy after biopsy, according to a study published in the April issue of JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Michael A. Holliday, M.D., from the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and colleagues conducted a retrospective study using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data from 524 patients with stage I and II primary tonsil carcinoma, diagnosed during 1988 through 2006, who received definitive radiation treatment. They examined whether tonsillectomy adds oncologic advantage over biopsy alone prior to radiotherapy.

The researchers found that age, surgical status, and year of diagnosis were significant contributors to OS and DSS. The five-year OS and DSS for treatment with radiation after tonsillectomy were 83 and 90 percent, respectively, compared with 64 and 76 percent, respectively, for radiation after biopsy.

"Our analysis revealed that radiotherapy after tonsillectomy is associated with better OS and DSS than is radiotherapy after biopsy alone," the authors write. "Opportunities for future study would include assessment of local-regional control, surgical selection bias, and the impact of comorbidities in this clinical question."

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