Long-term Quality of Life After Treatment of Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Pihla Ranta, Ilpo Kinnunen, Lauri Jouhi, Tero Vahlberg, Leif J.J. Back, Elina Halme, Petri Koivunen, Timo Autio, Matti Pukkila, Heikki Irjala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Objectives: To analyze the long-term quality of life (QOL) among oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) survivors. Study Design: Retrospective chart analysis and patient response to European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, Core Module (EORTC QLQ-C30), Head and Neck Module (EORTC QLQ-H&N35), and M.D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI) survey questionnaires. Methods: All survivors of OPSCC diagnosed and treated between 2000 and 2009 in Finland were included. There were 263 survivors (44.2% of all curatively treated patients), of which a total of 164 participated in this study (62.4%). Median follow-up was 11.79 years (range = 8.59–18.53 years, interquartile range [IQR] = 4.64 years). The mean age of the participants was 67.9 years (standard deviation = 8.0 years) at QOL follow-up. Results: Most survivors reported a good QOL. The EORTC QLQ-C30 global health status median was 75.00 (IQR = 31.25). The single modality treatment group had significantly better QOL outcomes than the combined treatment group. Nonsmokers and previous smokers had significantly better QOL outcomes than patients who smoked at the time of diagnosis. A history of heavy alcohol use resulted in significantly worse QOL outcomes. The p16-positive cancer patients had significantly better QOL outcomes than p16-negative patients. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube–dependent patients reported a significantly worse QOL than patients without a PEG tube. Conclusions: Long-term QOL in OPSCC survivors is generally good. In line with previous literature, single modality treatment was superior to combined treatment in long-term QOL outcomes, and it should be pursued whenever possible. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Aug 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • head and neck cancer
  • Oropharyngeal carcinoma
  • quality of life
  • treatment effect

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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