Prognostic indicators of improved survival and quality of life in surgically treated oral cancer

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No published study has analyzed the prognostic factors of surgically treated oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in relation to both survival and quality of life (QoL). The aim of this study was to analyze postoperative QoL in relation to survival to identify which parameters can predict the long-term outcome allowing the best QoL.

Study Design.

This retrospective cohort study considered 167 patients affected by OSCC treated surgically at the Otolaryngology Department of Cattinara Hospital (Trieste, Italy) by a single surgeon. We collected data about the main prognostic factors and the postoperative QoL 12 month after surgery.


The 5-year overall survival rate was equal to 68.1%, and the 5-year disease-specific survival was 77.8%. In this sample, 32% of patients also underwent adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. On stepwise Cox regression, the best predictors of disease-specific survival were the N stage (P < .001) and tumor depth of invasion (P < .001). QoL was affected by N stage, depth of invasion, invasive surgical approach, radiotherapy, and neck dissection (P < .05).


The prognostic factors that affect both survival rates and residual QoL are the surgical approach, the neck stage, and the depth of invasion, all of which can be minimized by early diagnosis.

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