Treatment, survival, and costs of oropharyngeal cancer care in the elderly

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6 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To examine associations between treatment, survival, and costs in elderly patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OPSCC). Study Design: Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare data. Methods: We evaluated 666 patients diagnosed with OPSCC from 2004 to 2007 using cross-tabulations, multivariate logistic and generalized linear regression modeling, and survival analysis. Results: The majority of patients were nonsmokers (79%), had advanced-stage disease (59%), and received chemoradiation (38%) or radiation (28%). Surgery with postoperative radiation (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.33 [95% CI: 0.20-0.53]) and chemoradiation (HR: 0.45 [95% CI: 0.29-0.71]) were associated with improved survival, whereas stage IV disease was associated with poorer survival (HR: 1.95 [95% CI: 1.13-3.38]). Additional cancer-directed treatment after primary treatment was more likely following chemoradiation (odds ratio [OR]: 3.44 [95% CI: 1.78-6.63]). Salvage surgery was performed in 25% of patients undergoing subsequent additional cancer-directed treatment, and was associated with high-volume hospitals (OR: 2.81 [95% CI: 1.07-7.74]). Additional radiation (HR: 0.47 [95% CI: 0.31-0.72]) and salvage surgery (HR: 0.61 [95% CI: 0.38-0.99]) were associated with improved overall survival when performed >6 months following initial treatment, whereas salvage neck dissection alone was not significantly associated with survival after controlling for time to salvage (HR: 0.38 [95% CI: 0.05-2.78]). Treatment and 5-year overall costs were highest for chemoradiation, surgery with postoperative radiation, and additional cancer-directed treatment. Conclusions: Multimodality treatment in elderly OPSCC patients was associated with improved survival and increased costs. Chemoradiation was associated with an increased likelihood of additional cancer-directed treatment. Salvage surgery was centralized at high-volume hospitals, and was associated with improved survival when performed >6 months after last initial treatment date, but was performed in <20% of patients undergoing additional treatment. Level of Evidence: 2c. Laryngoscope, 128:1103–1112, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1112
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Epidemiology
  • Surveillance
  • Tonsil cancer
  • and End Results–Medicare
  • chemotherapy
  • costs
  • elderly
  • oropharyngeal neoplasms
  • radiation
  • squamous cell cancer
  • surgery
  • survival
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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