Postoperative failure of platelet recovery is an independent risk factor for poor survival in patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer
The aim of this study was to evaluate the postoperative platelet count changes in patients with oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma undergoing preoperative chemoradiotherapy in order to test the hypothesis that the failure of platelets to recover to normal range within 7 days after surgery represents a significant risk factor for poor survival.
Materials and methods
A cohort of 102 patients with primary locally advanced oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma undergoing neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and surgery was retrospectively analyzed. For each patient, platelet counts were evaluated prior to neoadjuvant treatment, prior to surgery and throughout postoperative days 1 to 7. The Kaplan–Meier method and Cox regression models were used to assess the impact of platelet count changes on survival.
Overall survival rate at 5 years was 28 % for patients whose platelets did not recover by day 7, with 52 % for patients whose platelets remained within a normal level or recovered to this by day 7 (p = 0.005). In multivariate analysis, failure of platelet recovery by day 7 was independently associated with shorter overall survival (p = 0.03).
We demonstrated that the failure of platelets to recover to normal range by the seventh postoperative day is an independent adverse prognostic factor in patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer undergoing neoadjuvant treatment and surgery.
Our results indicate that physicians should pay closer attention to monitoring the postoperative platelet count course, as it may predict the clinical outcome of patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer.