A-549 A. Head and neck cancer
L. Oleaga Zufiría | Monday, March 11, 08:30 – 10:00 / Room E2
Identification of recurrent tumour in the post-therapy setting is often challenging. It is essential to have a baseline study for monitoring changes and evaluating possible recurrences. After surgery, there is distortion of the anatomy, the fat planes are lost, functional lymphadenectomy may be associated with muscle resection, resection of the jugular vein or grafting, therefore, it is essential to know this data to properly analyze the images. The immediate postoperative baseline study after surgery should be performed between 4 and 6 weeks after surgery. When radiotherapy is performed, there is loss of fat planes, significant edema in the mucosa and in subcutaneous tissue. The recommended baseline study should be obtained at 3 months after a completion of radiation therapy. The imaging methods used for the staging and follow-up of head and neck tumours varies between centres. CT is the most commonly used imaging technique, however, at some institutions MRI or PET are used to detect tumour recurrence after therapy, either surgery or chemo/radiation. Distinction between post-treatment changes and recurrent or residual tumor might be difficult to assess on imaging. A soft tissue mass present in the baseline study that decreases in size, should be considered treatment-related changes. If the mass increases in size, it is suggestive of persistent or recurrent tumor. A new onset mass in the follow-up study should be considered as recurrence. Late complications due to chemo/radiation include soft-tissue necrosis, osteochondronecrosis, carotid atherosclerosis, myelopathy, nerve paralysis secondary to fibrosis and sarcomas.