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Head Neck. 2001 Jul;23(7):566-72.

The significance of comorbidity in advanced laryngeal cancer.

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Department of Head and Neck Surgery, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Box 69, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



Cancer patients often have concurrent diseases and conditions known as comorbidities. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the significance of comorbidity in the treatment and outcomes of advanced laryngeal carcinoma.


A retrospective medical record review of 182 patients with previously untreated T3 or T4 squamous carcinomas of the larynx treated at M. D. Anderson between 1990 and 1995 was performed. Demographic, patient-specific, tumor-specific, and outcome measures information were collected. Comorbidity was coded using the Modified Medical Comorbidity Index. Univariate and multivariate analysis with the use of life survival analysis techniques and logistic regression were performed.


The median age at diagnosis was 59.5 years. Most patients were men (69.2%) and Caucasian (73.1%). Laryngeal preservation was performed in 90 patients, and surgical resection was performed in 92 patients. Patients in the two treatment groups had similar comorbidity, locoregional control (65%), and 5-year survival (37.3%). Patients with either moderate or severe comorbidity had significantly worse overall survival (p = .00014) and worse 5-year survival than those with no or mild comorbidity (21.8% vs 46.3%, p = .003).


This study demonstrates that comorbidity is significantly associated with survival in a group of patients with identical histology, site, and stage. Comorbid status should be incorporated into the assessment of prognosis and outcome to improve and optimize the management of head and neck cancer patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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