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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma with Regional Metastasis to Axilla or Groin Lymph Nodes: a Multicenter Outcome Analysis

George Pang MD, Nicole J. Look Hong MD, MSc, Gabrielle Paull MSc, Johanna Dobransky MHK, BSc, CCRP, Suzana Kupper MD, Scott Hurton MD, Daniel J. Kagedan MD, May Lynn Quan MD, Lucy Helyer MD, MSc, Carolyn Nessim MD, MSc, Frances C. Wright MD, Med
Volume 26, Issue 13 / December , 2019



Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) of the trunk/extremities with nodal metastasis represents a rare but significant clinical challenge. Treatment patterns and outcomes are poorly described.

Patients and Methods

Patients with cSCC who developed axilla/groin lymph node metastasis and underwent curative-intent surgery between 2005 and 2015 were identified at four Canadian academic centers. Demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment patterns, recurrence rates, and mortality were described. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were calculated using Kaplan–Meier analysis. Predictors of survival and any recurrence were explored using Cox regression and logistic regression models, respectively.


Of 43 patients, 70% were male (median age 74 years). Median follow-up was 38 months. Median time to nodal metastasis was 11.3 months. Thirty-one and 12 patients had nodal metastasis to the axilla and groin, respectively. A total of 72% and 7% received adjuvant and neoadjuvant radiation, respectively, while 5% received adjuvant chemotherapy. Following surgery, 26% patients developed nodal and/or distant disease recurrence. Crude mortality rate was 39.5%. Mean OS was 5.3 years [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.9–6.8 years], and 5-year OS was 55.1%. Mean DFS was 4.8 years (95% CI 3.3–6.2 years), and five-year DFS was 49.3%. Any recurrence was the only independent predictor of death [p = 0.036, odds ratio (OR) = 29.5], and extracapsular extension (p = 0.028, OR = 189) and age (p = 0.017, OR = 0.823) were independent predictors of recurrence.


This represents the largest contemporary series to date of outcomes for patients with axilla/groin nodal metastases from cSCC. Despite aggressive treatment, outcomes remain modest, indicating the need for a continued multidisciplinary approach and integration of new systemic agents.

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