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Tobacco abuse relates to significantly reduced survival of patients with oropharyngeal carcinomas

Hilgert, Evaa *; Bergmann, Christopha *; Fichtner, Alexandera; Gires, Olivierb c; Issing, Wolfgangd

European Journal of Cancer Prevention: April 2009 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 120-126
doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0b013e32831012a4
Research papers: Head and Neck Cancers

This study represents an in-depth evaluation of the impact of smoking and alcohol consumption on patients' outcome in 809 cases of oropharyngeal carcinoma. Prognostic parameters and additional information such as smoking and drinking habits were evaluated referring to the patients' case notes at the time point of first diagnosis. The overall 10-year survival rate was 45.5%, whereas 33.4% of the patients remained relapse-free. The great majority (92%) of patients had a history of smoking or were current smokers, whereas only 8% of the collective never smoked in their lifetime. Interestingly, we found a significant reduction of 10-year survival rates for smokers (28.8%) in comparison with nonsmokers (43.1%) and exsmokers (P=0.0007). This study presents data from a large cohort of patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma providing evidence for a relationship between alcohol and tobacco consumption, and significantly worse prognosis.

aDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology

bClinical Cooperation Group Molecular Oncology, Department of Head and Neck Research, Ludwig, Maximilians University, Munich

cGSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Munich, Germany

dDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology, The Freeman Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

Correspondence to Eva Hilgert, MD, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Klinikum Großhadern, Marchioninistr. 15, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Tel: +49 89 7095 3895; fax: +49 89 7095 6896;


*Eva Hilgert and Christoph Bergmann contributed equally to this study

Present address: Christoph Bergmann, Hillman Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Received 19 May 2008 Accepted 1 July 2008

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.