Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New indicator may help identify patients with increased risk from throat cancer

Date:
January 16, 2012
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
Researchers have found a new indicator that may predict which patients with a common type of throat cancer are most likely have the cancer spread to other parts of their bodies.

Independent of other factors, such as smoking history and HPV status, matted lymph nodes appear to signal increased chance of oropharyngeal cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found a new indicator that may predict which patients with a common type of throat cancer are most likely have the cancer spread to other parts of their bodies.

Patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who had "matted" lymph nodes -- nodes that are connected together -- had a 69 percent survival rate over three years, compared to 94 percent for patients without matted nodes, according to a study published online ahead of print publication in Head & Neck.

The oropharynx is an area that includes the back of the tongue, soft palate, throat and tonsils.

"The spread of cancer throughout the body accounts for about 45 percent of the deaths from oropharyngeal carcinoma," says the study's senior author, Douglas B. Chepeha, M.D., M.S.P.H., an associate professor of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at the U-M Medical School. "Our findings may help doctors identify patients who are at higher risk for having their cancer metastasize and who would benefit from additional systemic therapy. Conversely, some patients without matted nodes may benefit from a reduction of the current standard treatment, which would cut down on uncomfortable side effects."

Notably, the findings indicate an increased risk independent of other established prognostic factors, such as the patient's history of smoking or whether they have the Human papillomavirus (HPV), the study found. Smoking (tobacco and marijuana), heavy alcohol use and HPV infection have each been linked to the development of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

Matted nodes appear to be an especially strong indicator of increased risk among patients who are HPV-positive, even though HPV-positive patients had better overall outcomes than their HPV-negative peers. The patients with the best outcomes were HPV-positive non-smokers.

"It's not clear why we're finding these survival differences for patients who have matted nodes," says study lead author Matthew E. Spector, M.D., a head and neck surgery resident at U-M who won a national award from the American Head and Neck Society for this work. "It is possible that there are biological and molecular differences in these types of tumors, which can be explored in future research."

The results affirm the value of having a team of doctors and researchers from different specialties -- radiology, oncology, biostatistics and surgery -- working together to find advances that can directly benefit patients, Chepeha says. "This was a collaborative effort and all of the authors made important contributions," he adds.

The study tracked 78 cancer patients who were part of a clinical trial evaluating two cancer drugs in combination with intensity-modulated radiation therapy. All the patients had stage III or IV squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx and had not had any previous treatment. Sixteen of the 78 patients had matted nodes.

"It's significant that we've identified this new marker that can help us predict which patients have worse survival odds," Chepeha says. "Now we need to go one step further and figure out what mechanisms are at work and how we can use this knowledge to improve survival rates."

Head and neck cancer statistics:

An estimated 52,140 people will be diagnosed with head and neck cancer this year, and an estimated 11,460 people will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Additional authors include K. Kelly Gallagher, M.D.; Emily Light, M.S.; Mohannad Ibrahim, M.D.; Eric J. Chanowski; Jeffrey S. Moyer, M.D.; Mark E. Prince, M.D.; Gregory T. Wolf, M.D.; Carol R. Bradford, M.D.; Kitrina Cordell, D.D.S, M.S.; Jonathan B. McHugh, M.D.; Thomas Carey, Ph.D.; Francis P. Worden, M.D.; Avraham Eisbruch, M.D., all of U-M.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew E. Spector, K. Kelly Gallagher, Emily Light, Mohannad Ibrahim, Eric J. Chanowski, Jeffrey S. Moyer, Mark E. Prince, Gregory T. Wolf, Carol R. Bradford, Kitrina Cordell, Jonathan B. McHugh, Thomas Carey, Francis P. Worden, Avraham Eisbruch, Douglas B. Chepeha. Matted nodes: Poor prognostic marker in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma independent of HPV and EGFR status. Head & Neck, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/hed.21997

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "New indicator may help identify patients with increased risk from throat cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095840.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2012, January 16). New indicator may help identify patients with increased risk from throat cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095840.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "New indicator may help identify patients with increased risk from throat cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095840.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. Video provided by Newsy
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