European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 276, Issue 12, pp 3495–3505 | Cite as

EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire Head and Neck (H&N)-35 scores from H&N squamous cell carcinoma patients obtained at diagnosis and at 6, 9 and 12 months following diagnosis predict 10-year overall survival

  • Hans Jørgen AarstadEmail author
  • Arild Andrè Østhus
  • Helene Hersvik Aarstad
  • Stein Lybak
  • Anne Kari H. Aarstad
Head and Neck



To study the 10-year overall survival predictions, and mechanisms behind, of head and neck (HN) quality of life (QoL) scores obtained at diagnosis and 6, 9, and 12 months following diagnosis in a cohort of HN squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients.


Consecutive HNSCC patients (N = 109) subjected to standard workup and treatment self-reported their QoL measured by the EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ) H&N-35 between November 2002 and June 2005. Each QoL index was calculated and additionally aggregated to one sum score. The included patients were at diagnosis younger than 78 years, judged adequately cognitive functioning, and scheduled for curative treatment. Self-reported smoking, alcohol consumption, and socio-demographic information were registered. Twenty-two patients were high-risk (hr)-HPV DNA tumor positive. If the treatment goal was changed to palliative, no new QoL information was collected. All living patients were followed until 10 years after diagnosis.


Median survival was 105 months. Significant overall survival predictions were found from the EORTC H&N-35 QLQ sum scores continuously measured at diagnosis (p = 0.006) and obtained at 6 (p = 0.02), 9 (p = 0.002) and 12 (p = 0.05) months. Lower QoL predicted lower overall survival. These sum score survival predictions were in part independent of TNM stage, hr-HPV status, gender, age, alcohol and smoking status. The indices “pain”, “swallowing”, “social eating”, and “feeling ill” were predictive of survival at 3 out of 4 measuring points (diagnosis, 6, 9 and 12 months) in univariate analyses.


EORTC H&N-35 QLQ scores at diagnosis and throughout the first year thereafter harbor prognostic power.


Head and neck neoplasms Quality of life Prognosis Human papilloma virus 



This work has been supported by the Norwegian Cancer Society.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by the authors. The study was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki and its subsequent amendments and was approved by the institutional review board according to national regulations.

Informed consent

A written, informed consent was obtained from all participants of the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck SurgeryHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyOslo University Hospital-RikshospitaletOsloNorway
  4. 4.Faculty of HealthVID Specialized UniversityBergenNorway

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