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The number of patients under the age of 45 diagnosed with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) is increasing, probably due to the incidence of oropharyngeal cancers. Comparisons of HNSCC in young and old patients regarding tumor site and survival in sample sizes of relevance are rarely published. The aim of the study was to analyze the differences in survival between age groups dependent on tumor site and the influence of oropharyngeal cancers on the rising rates of HNSCC in the young. The records of 4466 patients diagnosed with HNSCC were reviewed retrospectively. Patients younger than 45 years were divided further into four subgroups for specific age differences in the young. The influences of patient and clinicopathological characteristics on survival were assessed using Kaplan-Meier analyses. Among the patient cohort, 4.8% were younger than 45 years. Overall survival (OS) in these patients was better, with a 5-year OS of 66.1% (vs. 46.4%), while relapse-free survival (RFS) was better in the older patient population, with a 5-year RFS of 74.9% (vs. 68.1%). Decreased RFS in the young was found for advanced tumor stages and tumor sited at the larynx. Hypopharynx and advanced stages were independent risk factors for OS under 45 years. Overall, 44.4% of all HNSCC in patients under 30 years were nasopharyngeal cancers, and incidence decreased with age. The incidence of oropharyngeal cancers increased significantly with age. Better OS in the young may be explained by lower tumor and disease stages, whereas oropharyngeal tumors and HPV were not found to cause rising rates of HNSCC. Laryngeal malignancies in young patients might be related to an increased malignant potential and should, consequently, be treated as such.


Claudius Steffen, Iris Piwonski, Max Heiland, Carmen Stromberger, Grzegorz Kofla, Christian Doll, Annekatrin Coordes, Benedicta Beck-Broichsitter. Influence of Tumor Site on Survival in Young Patients with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Current oncology (Toronto, Ont.). 2022 Feb 10;29(2):969-980

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PMID: 35200581

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