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Distant Metastasis

Determining Your Prognosis

Unfortunately, the prognosis of patients with head and neck cancer and distant metastases is generally quite poor.

According to the SEER national database, these are the estimated disease-specific survival rates for patients with distant metastases that originated in the head or neck8 Carvalho AL, Nishimoto IN, Califano JA, Kowalski LP. Trends in incidence and prognosis for head and neck cancer in the United States: a site-specific analysis of the SEER database. International Journal of Cancer. 2004;114(5), 806-816.:

Site of Cancer Distant Disease Stage Estimated Disease-Specific Survival Rate at Five Years 1974-1997
Oral Cavity 22%
Lip 52%
Salivary Gland 23%
Oropharynx 20%
Nasopharynx 29%
Hypopharynx 16%
Larynx 35%
Other mouth/pharynx 12%

An estimated disease-specific survival rate is the percentage of people with a specific cancer who are alive at a given time point, such as five years after diagnosis. It excludes people who may have died from a disease other than their cancer. It is probably the best estimate we have in these large national databases as to the prognosis of a particular type of cancer at each stage.

References

1 Ferlito A, Shaha AR, Silver CE, Rinaldo A, Mondin V. Incidence and sites of distant metastases from head and neck cancer. O RL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2001;63(4):202-207.

2 Allen CT, Law JH, Dunn GP, Uppaluri R. Emerging insights into head and neck cancer metastasis. Head Neck. 2012 doi: 10.1002/hed.23202. [Epub ahead of print].

3 Merino OR, Lindberg RD, Fletcher GH. An analysis of distant metastases from squamous cell carcinoma of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts. Cancer. 1977;40:145-151.

4 Spector JG, Sessions DG, Haughey BH, et al. Delayed regional metastases, distant metastases, and second primary malignancies in squamous cell carcinomas of the larynx and hypopharynx. Laryngoscope. 2001;111:1079-1087.

5 Nishijima W, Takooda S, Tokita N, Takayama S, Sakura M. Analyses of distant metastases in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and lesions above the clavicle at autopsy. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119:65-68.

6 Zbaren P, Lehmann W. Frequency and sites of distant metastases in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: an analysis of 101 cases at autopsy. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113:762-764.

7 Kotwall C, Sako K, Razack MS, Rao U, Bakamjian V, Shedd DP. Metastatic patterns in squamous cell cancer of the head and neck. Am J Surg. 1987;154:439-442.

8 Carvalho AL, Nishimoto IN, Califano JA, Kowalski LP. Trends in incidence and prognosis for head and neck cancer in the United States: a site-specific analysis of the SEER database. International Journal of Cancer. 2004;114(5), 806-816.

9 Leemans CR, Tiwari R, Nauta JJ, van der Waal I, Snow GB. Regional lymph node involvement and its significance in the development of distant metastases in head and neck carcinoma. Cancer. 1993;71(2):452-456.

10 Alvi A, Johnson JT. Development of distant metastasis after treatment of advanced-stage head and neck cancer. Head Neck. 1997;19(6):500-505.