Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Five risk factors for late-stage head and neck cancer identified

Date:
November 1, 2010
Source:
Henry Ford Health System
Summary:
A new study has identified five risk factors for late-stage head and neck cancer: two genes, tumor grade and vascular invasion and location of the tumor. Race, however, was not an independent predictor for late-stage disease, contrary to other research findings.

Developing a molecular fingerprint for head and neck cancer tumors could help improve diagnosis and treatment for this deadly and often-times disfiguring form of cancer, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Their new study has taken the first step toward doing that by identifying five risk factors for late-stage head and neck cancer -- two genes, tumor grade, and vascular invasion and location of the tumor.

Race, however, was not an independent predictor for late-stage disease, contrary to other research findings. In this study, 88 percent of the African American patients had some form of insurance.

"We were able to look at the many intertwined variables influencing health and disease to understand the contribution of tumor genetic alterations, pathologic, and patient factors in head and neck cancer diagnosis and outcomes," explains study lead author Maria J. Worsham, Ph.D., director of research in the Department of Otolaryngology at Henry Ford Hospital.

"We then used comprehensive modeling that accounted for the different variables, which no other study has done. By taking into account so many different factors, we were able to look at what rises to the top as a predictor for late-stage disease."

These initial findings, part of a five-year National Institutes of Health-funded study, will be presented by Dr. Worsham Oct. 28 during a panel discussion at the American Head and Neck Society 2010 Research Workshop in Arlington, VA. She also is chairing the session.

In 2009, there were an estimated 35,720 new cases of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and approximately 7,600 deaths.

Despite considerable efforts in medical diagnosis and treatment, the five-year survival rate for HNSCC has not significantly improved. In addition, African Americans tend to have later-stage cancer and poorer survival than Caucasians.

In an effort to learn more about what factors influence HNSCC stage and survival, Dr. Worsham and her colleagues went beyond looking at patient demographic and tumor pathology factors, like so many previous studies have done.

Instead, they took a more holistic approach with a very diverse patient population to better understand how a wide array of risk factors -- the killer aspects of the tumor and patient factors like smoking and alcohol use -- interact with disease stage, diagnosis and survival.

The study looked 689 Henry Ford patients from 1986 to 2005 with a primary diagnosis of HNSCC. Most notably, 42 percent of the study group was African American.

It examined 23 non-genetic patient risk factors including race, martial status and family history, and also looked at patients' tumor biology by examining tumor DNA for 113 genes from 2,166 tissue blocks.

All of these factors were placed into statistical models to determine both individual (univariate) and commingling independent variables (multivariate) that influence late-stage disease.

While previous studies have suggested African Americans are more likely to have late-stage disease with worse survival, the Henry Ford multivariate analysis found that race is not a risk factor for late-stage HNSCC.

Dr. Worsham suspects her team's study was not able to support that for two reasons: Unlike previous studies, their study included a large African American population and of those patients, 88 percent had some form of insurance.

"A large proportion of our study group, both African American and Caucasian, had insurance," notes Dr. Worsham. "This finding really shows the impact of insurance and access to care on overall patient care. Removing barriers does make a difference."

The study also found that the site of the tumor in head and neck cancer had an impact on disease stage. Patients with cancer in the oropharynx, which lies behind the oral cavity, and those with cancer in the hypopharynx, located at the bottom part of the pharynx, are more likely to have late-stage disease.

Poor tumor grade also placed patient at greater risk for late-stage disease. The researchers also identified two genes that signaled late-stage HNSCC.

"Ultimately, the more clues we have about what influences head and neck cancer diagnosis and survival, the more we can put toward understanding how to treat patients and counteracting its effects through designing special drugs," says Dr. Worsham.

Study co-authors from Henry Ford: Mei Lu, Ph.D.; Josena K. Stephen M.D.; Kang Mei Chen, M.D.; Shaleta Havard, BS; Veena Shah, M.D.; and Vanessa P. Schweitzer, M.D.

Research Support: NIH grant R01DE15990.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Henry Ford Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Henry Ford Health System. "Five risk factors for late-stage head and neck cancer identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028113424.htm>.
Henry Ford Health System. (2010, November 1). Five risk factors for late-stage head and neck cancer identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028113424.htm
Henry Ford Health System. "Five risk factors for late-stage head and neck cancer identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028113424.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

AFP (July 31, 2014) Uganda's health minister said on Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, but that it remained on alert for cases of the deadly virus. Uganda has suffered Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins