Recurrence due to neoplastic seeding in head and neck cancer: report of two cases and review of the literature


Aims and background. Tumor progression due to seeding of tumor cells after definitive treatment for squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck is an uncommon condition that can considerably worsen the outcome of patients with head and neck cancer.
Methods and study design. We report two cases of recurrence due to neoplastic seeding from oropharyngeal and oral cancer, respectively. We performed a literature review with MEDLINE as the main search engine.
Results. Seeding was found to occur most often in tracheotomy scars and gastrostomy sites. The oral cavity, hypopharynx and oropharynx were the primary sites in most cases, and advanced tumor stage seemed to be a risk factor for seeding. Treatment options include salvage surgery, which requires thorough resections, radiotherapy when possible, and palliative management. The prognosis of such events is poor.
Conclusion. Although neoplastic seeding is a well-known phenomenon in cancer surgery, many questions remain unanswered, especially regarding preventive measures and management strategies.

Tumori 2013; 99(4): e144 - e147

Article Type: CASE REPORT



Lluís Nisa, Kaouthar Khanfir, Roland Giger

Article History

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  • Nisa, Lluís [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, Hôpital de Sion – CHCVs – RSV, Sion, Switzerland
  • Khanfir, Kaouthar [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Unit of Radiation Oncology, Department of Oncology, Hôpital de Sion – CHCVs – RSV, Sion, Switzerland
  • Giger, Roland [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, Hôpital de Sion – CHCVs – RSV, Sion, Switzerland

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