Objective: To assess the prognostic significance of several factors in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma treated with radiotherapy alone or in combination with chemotherapy.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: Erasto Gaertner Hospital, Curitiba, Brazil, and A. C. Camargo Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil.
Patients: A total of 361 patients treated for squamous cell carcinoma from January 1, 1990, to December 31, 2001.
Interventions: Radiotherapy alone or with chemotherapy.
Main outcome measures: Disease-free survival, overall survival, and treatment response.
Results: Most tumors were located at the tonsil (46.8%) or base of the tongue (28.0%) and were at clinical stage III or IV (92.8%). Treatment response was associated with Zubrod scale score, weight loss, number of comorbidities, symptom-severity and Piccirillo stages, hemoglobin level, tumor site, macroscopic appearance of the tumor, and clinical stage. The 5-year overall survival rate was 17.6% and disease-free survival rate was 16.2%. The significant prognostic variables were age; Zubrod scale score; weight loss; comorbidities; Berg, Piccirillo, and symptom-severity staging; involvement of adjacent soft-tissue areas and bone; lymph node mobility; clinical stage; and radiotherapy doses. The multivariate analysis showed Zubrod scale score, symptom-severity staging system, Berg staging system, comorbidities, and radiotherapy dose as independent prognostic factors.
Conclusion: A combination of clinical factors, such as symptoms, patients' general status, weight loss, and comorbidities, leads to a relevant stage of clinical severity that can be associated with the TNM stage as predictors of survival in oropharyngeal carcinoma.