Long-term survival of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma after bone marrow transplant

Catriona M. Douglas, Ashock R. Jethwa, Wael Hasan, Amy Liu, Ralph Gilbert, David Goldstein, John De Almedia, Jeff Lipton, Jonathan C. Irish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The risk of developing head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in patients with graft versus host disease (GVHD) after bone marrow transplant (BMT) is well established but large series reporting outcomes are sparse. Methods: Retrospective, single institution, study of patients with GVHD and HNSCC after BMT, between January 1, 1968, and June 30, 2016. Results: In total, 25 patients were studied, of which 21 (84%) were male and 4 (16%) were female. Mean age for BMT was 41 (18-65) years. All patients developed GVHD, most common site was oral cavity (19 patients, 76%). Mean age for diagnosis of HNSCC was 52 (28-76) years. Mean time between BMT and diagnosis of HNSCC was 12 (2-13) years. The 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 61.4%, 5-year PFS was 56.7%. The 2-year overall survival (OS) was 82.8%, 5-year OS was 68.7%. Conclusion: HNSCC can develop many years after BMT in patients without the classic risk factors for head and neck cancer. The majority were seen with oral cancer and with early-stage disease likely due to active surveillance and early detection in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3389-3395
Number of pages7
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Kevin and Sandra Sullivan Chair in Surgical Oncology, the Myron and Berna Garron Fund, the Strobele Family Fund, and the RACH Funds.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • bone marrow transplant
  • graft versus host disease
  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

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