To evaluate functional swallowing outcomes in patients undergoing transoral robotic surgery vs primary chemoradiotherapy for the management of advanced-stage oropharynx and supraglottis cancers.
Prospective nonrandomized clinical trial.
We studied 40 patients with stage III or stage IVA oropharynx and supraglottis squamous cell carcinoma. Group 1 comprised 20 patients who received transoral robotic surgery with adjuvant therapy, while group 2 comprised 20 patients whose disease was managed by primary chemoradiotherapy.
Main Outcome Measures
Patients completed the M. D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI) before treatment and then at follow-up visits at 3, 6, and 12 months. The MDADI scores were analyzed and compared.
The median follow-up period for both groups was 14 months (range, 12-16 months). When comparing the median MDADI scores between group 1 and group 2, we found no statistically significant differences before treatment or at the 3-month follow-up visit. However, this difference was significant at the posttreatment visits at 6 months (P = .004) and 12 months (P = .006), where group 1 had better swallowing MDADI scores. We also found significant differences in swallowing MDADI scores between the groups at the 6-month posttreatment visit for patients with T1, T2, and T3 disease and at the 12-month follow-up visit for patients with T2 and T3 disease, where group 1 had significantly better MDADI scores. Comparing tumor subsites, group 1 fared significantly better at the follow-up visits at 6 months (P = .02) and 12 months (P = .04) for patients with primary tumor at the tonsil. Compared with group 2, group 1 patients having base of tongue cancers exhibited significantly better swallowing MDADI scores at the 6-month follow-up visit (P = .02), and group 1 patients having lateral oropharynx disease had significantly better swallowing MDADI scores at the 12-month follow-up visit (P = .04).
Advanced-stage oropharynx and supraglottis cancers managed by transoral robotic surgery with adjuvant therapy resulted in significantly better swallowing MDADI outcomes at the follow-up visits at 6 and 12 months compared with tumors treated by primary chemoradiotherapy.