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Radiat Oncol. 2007 Aug 21;2:30.

The influence of smoking and other risk factors on the outcome after radiochemotherapy for anal cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology of the University Medical Center Mannheim, Germany.



Smoking is an important risk factor for the development of cancer. Smoking during radiochemotherapy therapy may have a negative influence on prognosis. We evaluated the effect of smoking during radiochemotherapy on the outcome for patients with anal cancer.


Sixty-eight patients (34 smokers, 34 non-smokers) treated by radiochemotherapy for anal cancer were analysed. The effect of smoking during radiochemotherapy and other risk factors (gender, T- and N category, tumor site, dose, therapy protocol) on disease-specific survival (DSS), local control (LC) and colostomy free survival (CFS) was evaluated.


There was a significant difference in age and male:female ratio between the two groups. With a median follow up of 22 months (max. 119) DSS, LC, and CFS were 88%, 84% and 84%. A significant difference in local control between smokers (S) and non-smokers (NS) was found (S 74% vs. NS 94%, p = .03). For DSS and CFS a difference in terms of outcome between smokers and non-smokers was seen (DSS: S 82% vs. NS 96%, p = .19, CFS: S 75% vs. 91%, p = .15), which did not reach statistical significance. In multivariate analyses only gender had a significant association with LC and T category with CFS. The other risk factors did not reach statistical significance.


Even though our evaluation reached statistical significance only in univariate analysis, we suggest, that the role of smoking during radiochemotherapy for anal cancer should not be ignored. The potential negative effect on prognosis should be explained to patients before therapy.

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