Lessons learned from the INHANCE consortium: An overview of recent results on head and neck cancer

Oral Dis. 2021 Jan;27(1):73-93. doi: 10.1111/odi.13502. Epub 2020 Jul 16.


Objective: To summarize the latest evidence on head and neck cancer epidemiology from the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) consortium.

Subjects and methods: INHANCE was established in 2004 to elucidate the etiology of head and neck cancer through pooled analyses of individual-level data on a large scale. We summarize results from recent INHANCE-based publications updating our 2015 overview.

Results: Seventeen papers were published between 2015 and May 2020. These studies further define the nature of risks associated with tobacco and alcohol, and occupational exposures on head and neck cancer. The beneficial effects on incidence of head and neck cancer were identified for good oral health, endogenous and exogenous hormonal factors, and selected aspects of diet related to fruit and vegetables. INHANCE has begun to develop risk prediction models and to pool follow-up data on their studies, finding that ~30% of cases had cancer recurrence and 9% second primary cancers, with overall- and disease-specific 5-year-survival of 51% and 57%, respectively.

Conclusions: The number and importance of INHANCE scientific findings provides further evidence of the advantages of large-scale internationally collaborative projects and will support the development of prevention strategies.

Keywords: INHANCE; head and neck cancer; laryngeal cancer; oral cavity cancer; pooled analysis; prognostic factors; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Use

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