The aim of the present study was to examine the conditions, characteristics, and risk factors of level IIb lymph node metastases in oral squamous cell carcinoma and to formulate surgical criteria for level IIb lymph node dissection. We analyzed clinical and pathological records for 541 oral squamous carcinoma patients in relation to level IIb metastasis. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to detect risk factors for level IIb lymph node metastasis; a predictive model was built based on multivariate analysis and tested in a validation group. Univariate and multivariate analyses using the training group indicated that level IIa metastasis and Lymphovascular permeation (LVP) were two independent risk factors for level IIb lymph node metastasis. This model was built and tested in a validation group, the area under the curve being 0.697 (P <.0.001). The model’s sensitivity was 66.7% and specificity was 77.4%. Nomogram incorporating validated variables was developed for level IIb metastasis prediction. Expected survival probabilites were analysed to specify significance of model's variable on patients’ overall survival and recurrence. Level IIb dissection should be performed in patients with level IIa metastasis and LVP. However, thorough consideration of the oncologic safety of omitting level IIb dissection is compulsory.
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