- The association of treatment delay and prognosis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients in a Dutch comprehensive cancer center
- Oral Oncology
- Volume | Issue number
- 50 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
The increasing volume of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients can lead to longer intervals between histopathological diagnosis and primary treatment. This could cause psychological distress to the patient, but more importantly could possibly lead to tumor progression and decreased survival. Accordingly, this study investigates these relationships.
The correlation of professional delay and clinical characteristics of 2493 patients, treated between 1990 and 2011 with oral, oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and laryngeal SCC, was investigated. Patients were divided in two groups based on treatment delay, defined as the interval between histopathological diagnosis and initial treatment. Univariate and multivariate proportional hazards models were used to assess disease specific survival (DSS) and disease free survival (DFS).
Year of diagnosis, tumor site and therapy were significantly related to treatment delay. Tumor stage was not related to treatment delay. Multivariate regression models revealed that the group with a delay of more than 30 days had a better DSS (HR .838, CI .697-.922, p = .041) and DFS (HR .816, CI .702-.947), p = .007) than the group treated within 30 days.
In our study, treatment delay up to 90 days is not related to impaired survival. This argument can be used extremely cautiously to comfort patients who have to wait several weeks for treatment. Although, possible tumor progression during treatment delay could have led to increased morbidity subsequent to more extensive treatment. Also, possible negative psychological impact of delay in treatment should not be underestimated.
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