Background The purpose of this study was to determine whether the disease-free interval (DFI) between treatment of primary head and neck cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and the development of regional metastases is an independent prognostic factor. Methods A retrospective analysis of 229 patients with metastatic nodal head and neck cutaneous SCC, treated with curative intent by surgery ± adjuvant radiotherapy was conducted. Results After adjusting for the effect of nodal staging, extracapsular spread, involved margins, adjuvant radiotherapy, and immunosuppression, a short DFI (≤9 months vs >9 months) was a significant predictor of disease-related mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 3.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-6.5; p =.004) and locoregional relapse (HR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-4.0; p =.044). Conclusion The DFI is a potentially powerful independent prognostic factor in patients with regional metastases secondary to head and neck cutaneous SCC. It provides information before definitive treatment that may ultimately assist clinicians in applying a risk-adapted management paradigm.
- cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
- disease-free interval
- head and neck neoplasms
- lymph node metastases