Table of Contents
ISRN Oncology
Volume 2012, Article ID 945162, 14 pages
Review Article

The Role of Transoral Robotic Surgery in the Management of Oropharyngeal Cancer: A Review of the Literature

1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The University of Western ON, London, ON, Canada N6A 3K7
2Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7
3Victoria Hospital, London Health Science Centre, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Room B3-438A, 800 Commissioners Road East London, ON, Canada N6A 5W9

Received 18 January 2012; Accepted 13 February 2012

Academic Editors: J. Bentel and O. Hansen

Copyright © 2012 Samuel A. Dowthwaite et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) is an emerging treatment option for the treatment of head and neck malignancies, particularly for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Preliminary studies have demonstrated excellent oncologic and functional outcomes that have led to a resurgence of interest in the primary surgical management of OPSCC. The aim of the present study was to review the evidence base supporting the use of TORS in OPSCC. Methods. Studies evaluating the application of TORS in the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and more specifically OPSCC, were identified for review. Further searches were made of reference lists for complete evaluation of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in treating OPSCC. Results. Seventeen results relating to the application of TORS in treatment of OPSCC were identified. Further results relating to the role of transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) in OPSCC were included for review. Feasibility, oncologic, and functional data is summarized and discussed. Discussion. Management strategies for patients with OPSCC continue to evolve. Minimally invasive surgical techniques including TORS and TLM offer impressive functional and oncologic outcomes particularly for patients with early T-classification and low-volume regional metastatic disease. Potential exists for treatment deintensification, particularly in patients who are HPV positive.