The effect of treating institution on outcomes in head and neck cancer

Amy Anne D. Lassig, Anne M. Joseph, Bruce R. Lindgren, Patricia Fernandes, Sarah Cooper, Chelsea Schotzko, Samir Khariwala, Margaret Reynolds, Bevan Yueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Objective. Factors leading patients with head and neck cancer (HNCA) to seek radiation or chemoradiation in an academic center versus the community are incompletely understood, as are the effects of site of treatment on treatment completion and survival. Study Design. Historical cohort study. Setting. Tertiary academic center, community practices. Methods. A historical cohort study was completed of patients with mucosal HNCA identified by International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes receiving consultation at the authors' institution from 2003 to 2008. Patients who received primary and adjuvant radiation at an academic center or in the community were included. The authors compared treatment completion rates and performed univariate and multivariate analyses of treatment outcomes. Results. Of 388 patients, 210 completed treatment at an academic center and 145 at a community center (33 excluded, location unknown). Patients with HNCA undergoing radiation at an academic site had more advanced disease (P = .024) and were more likely to receive concurrent chemotherapy. Academic hospitals had a higher percentage of noncurrent smokers, higher median income, and higher percentage of oropharyngeal tumors. There was no significant difference in the rate of planned treatment completion between community and academic centers (93.7% vs 94.7%, P . .81) or rate of treatment breaks (22.4% vs 28.4%, P . .28). On Kaplan-Meier analysis, the 5-year survival rate was 53.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 45.3%-61.1%) for academic centers and 32.8% (95% CI, 22.0%-43.6%) for community hospitals (P<.001). Conclusion. In this cohort, although treatment completion and treatment breaks were similar between academic and community centers, survival rates were higher in patients treated in an academic setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1092
Number of pages10
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors express their most sincere thanks to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery for graciously supporting this work via the Rande H. Lazar Health Services Research Grant.


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Outcomes
  • Radiation
  • Treating institution


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