Health, Medicine

Pretreatment albumin level predicts survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Objectives/Hypothesis

Poor nutritional status in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is associated with tumor progression and survival. This study examined the prognostic value of nutritional and hematological markers in patients with HNSCC who received definitive treatments.

Study Design

A prospective observational cohort study.

Methods

This study included 338 consecutive patients who underwent surgery and/or radiotherapy/chemoradiotherapy for treatment-naïve HNSCC. Body weight and nutritional and hematological parameters were regularly measured before and after treatment. Univariate and multivariate analyses using Cox proportional hazards models were performed to identify factors associated with disease-free survival (DFS), cancer-specific survival (CSS), and overall survival (OS).

Results

Body weight, serum total protein and albumin levels, and hematological variables significantly decreased after treatment. Univariate analyses illustrated that age, tumor site, T and N classifications, overall stage, pretreatment serum albumin (<3.5 g/dL) and hemoglobin (<12 g/dL) levels, and neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio were significantly associated with DFS, CSS, and OS (all P < .05). Multivariate analyses identified age, tumor site, N classification, and pretreatment albumin levels as independent predictors of DFS, CSS, and OS (all P < .05). Patients with low serum albumin levels prior to treatment experienced approximately sixfold increases in the risks of tumor progression and cancer-specific and overall mortality compared to the findings in their counterparts.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that pretreatment serum albumin levels predict DFS, CSS, and OS in patients who received definitive treatment for HNSCC. These findings might help to predict treatment outcome and guide nutritional intervention in patients with HNSCC.

Level of Evidence

2b Laryngoscope, 2017

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