HNSCC: smoking tied to reduced survival

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  • Smoking is associated with reduced survival of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

Why this matters

  • Study lends support to the well-described link between smoking and HNSCC outcomes.

Key results

  • The overall mortality rate was 54.9% (median follow-up: 81 mo).
  • 56.2% of patients were smokers.
  • Smokers had reduced median survival time (89 mo vs 208 mo; HR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.42-2.77).
  • 36.5% of smokers had laryngeal cancer, 32.3% had oropharyngeal cancer, and 23.1% had oral cancer.
  • Unmarried patients were more likely to use tobacco (OR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.09-2.87).
  • Unmarried patients had reduced survival compared with married patients (HR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.38-2.53).

Study design

  • 463 patients with HNSCC were analyzed for survival and associations with smoking and marital status.
  • Funding: None disclosed.


  • Retrospective study.
  • Nonsmokers not stratified into quitters vs never-smokers.