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Ann Oncol. 2012 Jul;23(7):1854-63. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr536. Epub 2011 Nov 24.

Survival in cancer of unknown primary site: population-based analysis by site and histology.

Author information

1
Division of Molecular Genetic Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany. k.hemminki@dktz.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) is diagnosed at a metastatic stage, conferring an unfavorable prognosis. The natural history of the disease is poorly understood, which complicates diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Population-based survival data are lacking regarding location and histology of metastases.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

From the Swedish Cancer Registry, 18 911 CUP patients were identified between years 1987 and 2008. Survival was analyzed by Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox regression.

RESULTS:

Adenocarcinoma accounted for 70% of all extranodal cases with a 12-month survival of 17% and the median survival of 3 months. Adenocarcinoma was also the most common histology (33.4%) when metastases were limited to lymph nodes, with a 12-month survival of 41% and median survival of 8 months. For extranodal metastases, the extremes in survival were small intestinal cancer with poor prognosis and mediastinal cancer with favorable prognosis. For nodal metastases, patients affected in the head and neck, axillary and inguinal regions had the best prognosis and those with abdominal and intrapelvic metastases the worst prognosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present data underline the importance of histology and location of metastasis in assisting clinical decision making: hazard ratios differed by a factor of five among extranodal and nodal metastases.

PMID:
22115926
DOI:
10.1093/annonc/mdr536
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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