Overall Survival of Filipino Patients with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: A Single-Institution Experience


This paper is the first to present the incidence and overall survival of patients with squamous cell carcinomaof the head and neck (SCCHN) from the extreme northern part of the Philippines. We retrospectively retrievedthe records of patients with histologically-confirmed squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx,hypopharynx and larynx at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, Ilocos Norte, Philippines,from 2003 to 2012 and analysed prognostic factors associated with survival. Of the 150 cases, only 80 (53.3%) werestill living when the study was terminated. Median age at initial diagnosis was 61.5 years and the male to femaleratio was 7:3. The majority of the cases had tumours in the oral cavity (50.7%), followed by the larynx (36.7%).Sex (log rank=1.94, p value/α=0.16), tumor site (log rank=0.02, p value/α=0.90), tumor grade (log rank=1.74, pvalue/α=0.42), and node stage (log rank=0.07, p value/α=0.80) were not shown to be associated with the survivalof our cases. Only 45 (30.0%) had no regional lymph node involvement (N0) at presentation and 12 (8.0%) hadalready developed distant metastases. Among the 150 patients, 71 (47.3%) were not able to receive treatment ofany kind. Oddly, treatment (log rank=1.65, p value/α=0.20) was also shown to be not associated with survival.The survival rate of those who underwent surgery, radiotherapy, or both was not statistically different fromthose who did not receive any treatment. Only the tumor stage (log rank=4.51, p value/α=0.03) was associatedwith patient survival. The overall mean survival was 49.3 months, with survival rate diminishing from 88.3%during the 1st year to 1.80% by end of the study. This relatively low survival rate of our cases only reflects theirpoor access to quality diagnostic and treatment facilities.