Prognostic factors in head and neck oncology: a critical appraisal for use in clinical practice

Anticancer Res. 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6B):4769-76.


Background: An ideal prognostic factor would provide information about the biological behaviour of a tumour, permitting the prediction of the outcome and response to therapy. Nowadays there is a considerable confusion concerning the value, significance and use of the know prognostic factors in head and neck cancer.

Material and methods: A meta-analysis of works published in literature between 1993 and August 1997 on prognostic factors in head and neck oncology was carried out.

Results: Prognostic factors were analysed and classified according to Wennenberg in the following groups: patient-related factors, tumour-related factors and factors predicting response to therapy.

Conclusions: We propose a classification of prognostic factors in head and neck cancer according to their significance and reliability: factors of proven significance and experimental factors. This classification might be useful to select guidelines to use in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Biomarkers, Tumor