Lymph-node-positive cutaneous nonmelanoma skin cancer: A poor-prognosis disease in need of treatment intensification

Lora S. Wang, Elizabeth A. Handorf, John A. Ridge, Barbara A. Burtness, Miriam N. Lango, Ranee Mehra, Jeffrey C. Liu, Thomas J. Galloway

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Locoregionally advanced nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) has an aggressive clinical course characterized by high rates of treatment failure and poor survival compared with localized skin cancers. Our goal was to investigate multimodal therapy for lymph-node-positive NMSC. Data from patients with lymph-node-positive NMSC who underwent surgery and adjuvant therapy at a single tertiary center from 2002 to 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Median follow-up was 1.8 years (range: 0.5 to 8.5). Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. The chi-square test and logistic regression were used to determine the association between locoregional control (LRC) and the following variables: evidence of extracapsular extension, number of lymph nodes positive, largest involved lymph node, presence of a positive margin, and use of concurrent chemoradiation (CRT). Forty-six patients were evaluated, 13 (28%) of whom received adjuvant CRT. CRT patients were younger (p < 0.001) and had a significantly greater number of positive lymph nodes (p = 0.016) than patients who received adjuvant radiation alone. At 5 years, LRC was 76%, PFS was 65%, and OS was 49%. Univariate analysis demonstrated that CRT (p = 0.006), largest lymph node measurement (p = 0.039), and ≥3 involved lymph nodes (p = 0.001) predicted local recurrence. CRT (p = 0.035, odds ratio [OR] 0.20 [95% confidence interval 0.05 to 0.90]) and ≥3 involved lymph nodes (p = 0.017, OR 0.07 [95% confidence interval 0.01 to 0.62]) remained significant on multivariate analysis. CRT was well tolerated. No grade =3 toxicities were observed except for 1 asymptomatic grade-4 thrombocytopenia. Patients with lymph-node-positive NMSC do poorly. Patient selection for intensification of adjuvant therapy needs clarification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE12
JournalEar, Nose and Throat Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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