Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

17.01.2012
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: 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.

Disclosure: None.

Funding: The research was supported by a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Head and Neck Cancer grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Citation: "Matted Nodes Are Associated With A Poor Prognosis In Oreopharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Independent of HPV and EGFR Status," Head & Neck, Jan. 13, 2012.

Resources:

U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center head and neck cancer page: http://www.cancer.med.umich.edu/cancertreat/headandneck/index.shtml

U-M Cancer AnswerLine: 800-865-1125

Clinical trials at U-M: http://umclinicalstudies.org/cancer

Ian Demsky | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Breakthrough in understanding how deadly pneumococcus avoids immune defenses
13.11.2018 | University of Liverpool

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>