Blood Transfusion and Other Prognostic Variables in the Survival of Patients With Cancer of the Head and Neck

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The clinical records of 207 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, diagnosed and surgically treated at the Otolaryngology Division of Pordenone General Hospital and Aviano Cancer Centre, northeast of Italy, from January 1982 to December 1987, were retrospectively reviewed to gather information on blood transfusions and other characteristics potentially related to survival. The group of patients (mean age = 59 years) included 85 cases (41%) of laryngeal cancer, 80 cases (39%) of oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer, and 34 cases (16%) of cancer of the oral cavity. Fifty-five patients (27%) did not receive any blood transfusion while 152 patients were transfused with different amounts of blood. At the univariate analysis, nodal involvement, clinical stage, type of therapy, status of surgical margins, and metastatic spread beyond the nodal capsule appeared to be significantly linked to prognosis. After adjustment for other prognostic variables, transfused patients showed a twofold higher hazard ratio as compared to nontransfused patients, but such an unfavorable predictive value should be evaluated in the context of the other prognostic correlates of cancer of the head and neck.

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