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INTRODUCTION: It is common practice to irrigate the operative site following tumor resection during major head and neck surgery. A variety of irrigation solutions are used, but there are few data on their relative efficacies in this context. METHODS: The effect of different irrigation solutions on cell survival was assessed by clonogenic survival assay in 5 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines at different time points. RESULTS: Saline had no effect on cell survival in any of the cell lines tested. Hydrogen peroxide, povidone-iodine, and a hydrogen peroxide/povidone-iodine mix caused complete cell death in all cell lines. Irrigation with distilled water caused a significant reduction in cell survival in 3 cell lines. Duration of exposure showed no effect on cell survival. CONCLUSION: These data suggest a significant difference in the cytocidal effect of commonly used irrigation solutions on head and neck cancer cells in an in vitro model.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol

Publication Date





68 - 71


head and neck cancer treatment, squamous cell carcinoma, wound irrigation, Anti-Infective Agents, Local, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Cell Culture Techniques, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Survival, Head and Neck Neoplasms, Humans, Hydrogen Peroxide, Pharmaceutical Solutions, Povidone-Iodine, Sodium Chloride, Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck, Therapeutic Irrigation, Water