DOI: 10.1002/lary.31019 ISSN:

Survival Benefit from Cancer‐Directed Surgery for Metastatic Head and Neck Cancer

Runqiu Zhu, Huiyong Zhu
  • Otorhinolaryngology


This study aimed to gather evidence for the survival benefit of cancer‐directed surgery (CDS) in metastatic head and neck cancer (M1 HNC) and identify which patients will benefit most from CDS.


Patients with M1 HNC were identified within the SEER database. According to whether received CDS, patients were divided into the CDS and non‐CDS groups. The bias between the two groups was minimized using Propensity Score Matching (PSM), and the prognostic role of CDS was investigated using Kaplan–Meier analysis, log‐rank test, and Cox proportional hazard models. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS), and the secondary endpoint was cancer‐specific survival (CSS).


A total of 3215 patients with M1 HNC were extracted, including 566 patients who received CDS that were 1:1 propensity score‐matched with patients who did not receive CDS. In the matched dataset, the median OS and CSS in CDS groups were significantly higher than in non‐CDS groups (OS: 19.0 vs. 9.0 months, p < 0.001; CSS: 21.0 vs. 9.0 months, p < 0.001). Meanwhile, multivariable Cox regression analysis also revealed that CDS was a favorable prognostic factor for both OS and CSS. Furthermore, subgroups of patients with M1 HNC (younger age, being married, grade I–II, oropharynx site, earlier T/N stage, radiotherapy) were inclined to benefit from CDS, while those patients who received chemotherapy failed to benefit from CDS.


This study indicated that CDS was associated with improved survival in M1 HNC, especially for those subpopulations that benefit more from CDS treatment.

Level of Evidence

3 Laryngoscope, 2023

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