Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the disease-free interval (DFI) between treatment of primary head and neck cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and the development of regional metastases is an independent prognostic factor.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of 229 patients with metastatic nodal head and neck cutaneous SCC, treated with curative intent by surgery ± adjuvant radiotherapy was conducted.
Results: After adjusting for the effect of nodal staging, extracapsular spread, involved margins, adjuvant radiotherapy, and immunosuppression, a short DFI (≤9 months vs >9 months) was a significant predictor of disease-related mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 3.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-6.5; p = .004) and locoregional relapse (HR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-4.0; p = .044).
Conclusion: The DFI is a potentially powerful independent prognostic factor in patients with regional metastases secondary to head and neck cutaneous SCC. It provides information before definitive treatment that may ultimately assist clinicians in applying a risk-adapted management paradigm.
Keywords: cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma; disease-free interval; head and neck neoplasms; lymph node metastases; survival.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.