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Cause-specific mortality in HPV+ and HPV- oropharyngeal cancer patients: insights from a population-based cohort

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Identifying the causes of death in head and neck cancer patients can optimize follow-up and therapeutic strategies, but studies in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) patients stratified by HPV status are lacking. We report cause-specific mortality in a population-based cohort of patients with OPSCC. Patients who had been diagnosed with OPSCC (n = 1541) between 2000 and 2014 in eastern Denmark were included in the study. Causes of death were collected through medical files and the Danish National Cause of Death registry. Deaths were grouped as (1) primary oropharyngeal cancer, (2) secondary malignancies, (3) cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, or (4) other/unspecified. The cumulative incidence of death and specific causes of death were determined using risk analysis. At follow-up, 723 (47.5%) patients had died. The median time to and cause of death were determined: oropharyngeal cancer (n = 432; 1.00 year), secondary malignancies (n = 131; 2.37 years), cardiovascular and pulmonary causes (n = 58; 3.48 years), and unspecified causes (n = 102; 3.42 years). HPV/p16 status was the strongest predictor of improved survival across all causes of death. The only cause of death to decrease in incidence over the 2 years after treatment was death from OPSCC. HPV/p16 positivity was an independent factor for improved survival across all causes of death in patients with OPSCC. In addition, both HPV-positive and HPV-negative OPSCC patients faced high 5- and 10-year mortality rates. Implementing secondary screening and prevention strategies for late toxicity and mortality are major goals in managing the treatment of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Medicine
Volume7
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)87-94
ISSN2045-7634
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52148055