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Keywords:

  • recurrence;
  • incurable;
  • oropharynx;
  • hypopharynx;
  • palliative

Background

Carcinomas of the oropharyngeal and hypopharynx are difficult to treat because of their aggressive tendency to metastasize and their high recurrence rate.

Methods

A retrospective review of 79 patients with recurrences of oropharyngeal or hypopharyngeal carcinomas was performed. The courses of disease from recurrence diagnosis to the valuation date or death were analyzed.

Results

The median survival for patients classified as incurable at recurrence diagnosis amounted to 8 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 5–10 months), patients initially classified as curable at the time of recurrence diagnosis survived an estimated 12 months (95% CI, 8–22 months). No significant differences regarding the survival after diagnosed recurrence could be observed depending on the tumor location or tumor stage.

Conclusion

The knowledge about the courses of disease and especially the remaining lifetime after diagnosed incurability could facilitate the planning of the remaining lifetime in order to achieve the best possible quality of life. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 36: 231–234, 2014