A 5-year follow-up study of 633 cutaneous SCC excisions: Rates of local recurrence and lymph node metastasis



      A 5-year follow-up study of 633 cutaneous squamous cell cancer (SCC) excisions was performed by collecting data on rates of local recurrence (LR) and lymph node (LN) metastasis.


      A retrospective analysis of patients was performed across four regional plastic surgery centres (Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury; John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford; Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury and Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth) assessing rates of LR and LN metastasis.


      We report 5-year outcomes from 598 SCCs (95% follow-up rate). The total recurrence rate (LR and LN metastasis) was 6.7% (n = 40) at 5 years, with 96% of these occurring within 2 years. Median time to LR was 9 months (1–57), with 76.9% (n = 20) undergoing further wide local excision. Median time to LN metastasis was 5.5 months (1–18 months). There were two cases of disease-related death. Only 15% (n = 6) of incomplete excisions recurred. Interestingly, 19.1% (n = 9) of 47 SCCs with perineural invasion on original histopathology recurred versus only 5.6% (n = 31) of the 551 SCCs without perineural invasion (p = 0.005).


      This study is one of the largest studies to date following up 598 SCC excisions at 5 years with total recurrence rates comparable to those in current published literature. We report perineural invasion as a significant predictor of recurrence and that 96% of total recurrence occurred within 2 years. This is in contrast to current UK guidelines (75% at 2 years, 95% at 5 years), thus suggesting that shorter length of hospital follow-up may be reasonable.


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