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Comorbidity in nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a preliminary communication on the prevalence, descriptive distribution and impact on outcome
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Dr Nick Steen
Dr Charles Kelly
Ramakrishnan Y, Paleri V, Shah R, Steen IN, Wight RG, Kelly CG
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OBJECTIVES: Comorbidity has been shown to be a determinant in treatment selection and survival in squamous cell cancer of the head and neck at various subsites. The objective of this study is to analyse the effect of comorbidity burden on outcome of nasopharyngeal cancer using the Adult Comorbidity Evaluation-27 (ACE-27) instrument. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis. SETTING: Tertiary care centres. PARTICIPANTS: This study included 59 patients diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma between 1989-2003 in the North-East of England. Exclusion criteria included non-squamous neoplasms of the nasopharynx. Comorbidity was assessed retrospectively from the notes using standard validated techniques described earlier. Tumour, treatment and survival data were obtained from prospective databases. Data was analysed using SPSS for Windows. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Comorbidity and outcome of treatment. RESULTS: Comorbid burden was evident in 44% of patients, with moderate or severe comorbidity in 19%. The cardiovascular system was the most commonly affected system (27%). Cox's proportional hazard model showed age and stage of tumour to have an impact on disease specific survival. Comorbidity was not seen to predict the outcome independent of other factors. The sample size of this study is powered to detect only medium to large effects. We estimate that 614 subjects will be needed to detect a correlation coefficient of 0.1 with 80% power, assuming a type 1 error rate of 5%. CONCLUSION: This study shows for the first time that the comorbidity burden seen in nasopharyngeal cancer does not affect prognosis independent of the TNM staging.
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