Elderly patientswith squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and the benefit of multimodality therapy

Virginia A. Moye, Sindhu Chandramouleeswaran, Ni Zhao, Hyman B. Muss, Mark C. Weissler, David N. Hayes, Jose P. Zevallos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background. Limited data are available regarding outcomes in elderly head and neck cancer patients.This retrospective study was designed to characterize head and neck cancer in geriatric patients. Patients andMethods. This studyincludedallpatients ina large university-based tumor registrywhowere diagnosed with head and neck cancer from January 1, 1990, to December 31, 2005. Patients aged $70 years at the time of diagnosis were defined as older. Overall survival and progression-free survival were censored at 60 months. Survival differences were compared using the log-rank test. Hazard ratios were estimated using a Cox proportional hazards model, adjusting for potential confounders. Results. Of 1, 598 patients identified, 1, 166 patients were aged, 70 years (i.e., younger) and 281 patients were aged $70 years (older).Whencontrolling for possible confounders, older patients were nearly twice as likely to die within 5 years as their younger counterparts (hazard ratio: 1.92). The median life expectancy for older patients was nearly 5 years for stage I-II disease and, 2 years for stage III-IV disease. Older patients with stage III-IVdiseasewhoreceivedmultimodality therapy had 5-year survival similar to that younger patients with stage III-IV disease who were treated similarly (33.2% vs. 44.0%).Older patients with stage III-IV diseasewho received single-modality therapy had extremely poor survival compared with all other patients (hazard ratio for progressionfree survival: 1.5). Conclusion. This study highlights the need for better understanding of the factors affecting head and neck cancer outcomes in elderly patients. Information about life expectancy in elderly head and neck cancer patients may help guide treatment decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 12 2015


  • Aged
  • Drug therapy
  • Head and neck neoplasms
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgical therapy


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