Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Journal of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Original research article

The impact of clinical versus pathological staging in oral cavity carcinoma–a multi-institutional analysis of survival

Vincent L Biron, Daniel A O’Connell and Hadi Seikaly*

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, AB, 1E4.33 WMC, , Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 2013, 42:28  doi:10.1186/1916-0216-42-28

Published: 11 April 2013



To evaluate any disparity in clinical versus pathological TNM staging in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC) patients and any impact of this on survival.


Demographic, survival, staging, and pathologic data on all patients undergoing surgical treatment for OCSCC in Alberta between 1998 and 2006 was collected. Clinical and pathological TNM staging data were compared. Patients were stratified as pathologically downstaged, upstaged or unchanged.


Tertiary care centers in Alberta, Canada.

Main outcome measures

Survival differences between groups were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression models.


Patients with clinically early stage tumors were pathologically upstaged in 21.9% of cases and unchanged in 78.1% of cases. Patients with clinically advanced stage tumors were pathologically downstaged in 7.9% of cases and unchanged in 92.1% of cases. Univariate and multivariate estimates of disease-specific survival showed no statistically significant differences in survival when patients were either upstaged or downstaged.


Some disparity exists in clinical versus pathological staging in OCSCC, however, this does not have any significant impact on disease specific survival.