Diagnosis and Management of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Unknown Primary in the Head and Neck: ASCO Guideline

Ellie Maghami, Nofisat Ismaila, Adriana Alvarez, Rebecca Chernock, Umamaheswar Duvvuri, Jessica Geiger, Neil Gross, Bruce Haughey, Doru Paul, Cristina Rodriguez, David Sher, Hilda E. Stambuk, John Waldron, Matt Witek, James Caudell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


PURPOSE To provide evidence-based recommendations to practicing physicians and other health care providers on the diagnosis and management of squamous cell carcinoma of unknown primary in the head and neck (SCCUP). METHODS The American Society of Clinical Oncology convened an Expert Panel of medical oncology, surgery, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, and advocacy experts to conduct a literature search, which included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, and prospective and retrospective comparative observational studies published from 2008 through 2019. Outcomes of interest included survival, local and regional disease control, and quality of life. Expert Panel members used available evidence and informal consensus to develop evidence-based guideline recommendations. RESULTS The literature search identified 100 relevant studies to inform the evidence base for this guideline. Four main clinical questions were addressed, which included subquestions on preoperative evaluations, surgical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, appropriate pathology techniques, and adjuvant therapy. RECOMMENDATIONS Evidence-based recommendations were developed to address preoperative evaluation for patients with a neck mass, surgical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, appropriate treatment options in unilateral versus bilateral SCCUP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2570-2596
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Apr 23 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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