Rationale: The TNM system for classification of Head and neck malignant tumours is a universally accepted, widely used, staging method which helps clinicians and researchers to choose from treatment options, and gives patients an estimate of their prognosis. However the clinical and histopathological staging of some patients may differ (stage migration) leading to significant effect on prognosis and treatment type.
Patients and methods: We compared clinical and pathologic TNM staging in a large and contemporary series of 86 head and neck cancer patients who were treated with head and neck surgery with or without adjuvant radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.
Results: In more than half of the patients in the cohort, the clinical and pathological tumour sizes did not co-relate (table below). A complete description of the results and explanation of possible causes will be presented in the meeting. Same clinical and pathological tumour size 39 (44.3%) clinical staging higher than pathological staging 27 (30.7%) pathological staging higher than clinical staging 16 (18.2%) could Not be determined 6 (6.8%).
Conclusion: Major discrepancy was found between clinical and pathological staging in our cohort. We propose a further prospective study to measure the accuracy of clinical and histopathological staging in head and neck cancer.