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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-31

Feasibility of use of the 8th edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging for head and neck cancers in Indian scenario: An evaluative study

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Sciences, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Apollo Proton Cancer Center, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sivakumar Pradeep
82/1, F Block, Second Street, Anna Nagar East, Chennai - 600 102, Tamil Nadu
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DOI: 10.4103/ams.ams_125_20

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Introduction: Inclusion of depth of invasion (DOI) and a separate classification for human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated Oropharyngeal Cancers (OPCs) are two of the many major changes in the 8th edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system. After more than 2 years of implementation, the authors found the need to evaluate if the Indian clinicians found it feasible to apply the system in their practice and if the same has influenced their decision-making. Methods: The survey was done in the form of a questionnaire which was distributed personally and via the internet to 100 clinicians. Seventy-two clinicians responded to the questionnaire. The results were analyzed and frequency distribution was computed. Results: Eighty-three percent of the clinicians experienced that palpation of the tumour was not a reliable method to determine the DOI. The common issues stated by the clinicians were difficulty in assessing DOI in certain subsites of the oral cavity (most commonly retromolar trigone–83%), inability to determine DOI in patients with trismus, and inability to correlate pathological and clinical DOI. Thirteen percent of the clinicians did not rely on radiological tools for measuring the DOI. Seventy percent of the clinicians did not perform a P16 assay for patients with oropharyngeal cancers. Fifty percent of the clinicians preferred chemoradiotherapy for early HPV positive oropharyngeal cancers. Discussion: Based on the results of the survey, the authors recommend a need for more interpretative guidelines and methods for determining the DOI. The authors also emphasize the need for determining HPV status for all oropharyngeal carcinomas.

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