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Keywords:

  • squamous cell carcinoma;
  • young;
  • disease-specific survival;
  • oral cavity;
  • oropharynx

Abstract

Background

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) mainly affects patients between the fifth and seventh decade of life but is increasingly seen in young patients (<40 years old). Controversy exists in the literature regarding outcomes for younger patients with HNSCC.

Methods

A retrospective cohort analysis was performed comparing survival of 54 early-onset (<40 years) and 1708 older patients with oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) treated at The Netherlands Cancer Institute between 1977 and 2008. Survival analysis was performed using univariable and multivariable weighted Cox proportional hazards regression. The primary endpoint for the survival analysis was disease-specific survival (DSS).

Results

There was no difference in DSS between patients who were 40 years or younger and those older than 40 years (p = .878), although young patients had significantly better overall survival (OS).

Conclusion

In this series, patients younger than 40 years with oral and oropharyngeal SCC showed no significant difference in DSS compared with patients older than 40 years, even when adjusted for tobacco and alcohol consumption. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2013