, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1331-1336
Date: 14 Feb 2009

Decrease in Hemoglobin Levels Following Surgery Influences the Outcome in Head and Neck Cancer Patients Treated with Accelerated Postoperative Radiotherapy

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Abstract

Aim

To assess the influence of hemoglobin (Hb) levels in locally advanced head and neck cancer (LAHNC) patients treated with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy (PORT).

Material and Methods

Pre- and postoperative Hb levels were collected in 79 patients treated with surgery followed by accelerated PORT for LAHNC. Median follow-up was 52 months (range 12–95 months).

Results and Discussion

Four-year overall survival (OS) rate was 51%. Neither pre- nor postoperative Hb level (<120 or 130 g/l in women or men, respectively) influenced the outcome. However, when Hb decrease between pre- and postoperative Hb values was taken into account, 4-year OS was significantly higher in patients with Hb difference less than 38 g/l (quartile value) compared with those with Hb decrease 38 g/l or more (61% versus 16%, P = 0.008).

Conclusion

Decrease in Hb level by more than 38 g/l after surgery secondary to blood loss influences the outcome when postoperative RT is indicated.

Berrin Pehlivan and Abderrahim Zouhair contributed equally to this work.
Presented in part at the 6th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, August 7-11, 2004, Washington, DC.