Age and stage as determinants of treatment for oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers in the elderly

David Goldenberg, Heath Mackley, Wayne Koch, Darrin V. Bann, Eric W. Schaefer, Christopher S. Hollenbeak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background We investigate treatment selection for oral cavity and oropharyngeal (OC&OP) cancers to understand factors that influence treatment selection. Methods We studied 7023 patients, ≥66 years, diagnosed with a first primary OC&OP cancer using SEER-Medicare data. Multinomial logistic regression was to model treatment selection, controlling for other factors. Results Most patients with OC cancer were treated with surgery alone (56.5%); most patients with OP cancer were treated with chemotherapy and radiation (28.9%). Age, stage and site were the most important predictors of treatment selection. As age increased from 70 to 81 (the interquartile range), treatment shifted toward surgery alone (OR = 1.26; CI: 1.08-1.46) and no treatment (OR = 1.5, 95% CI: 1.25-1.80), and away from combined surgery, radiation and treatments involving chemotherapy. Conclusions Age, stage, and site are the most important determinants of treatment selection for patients with OC&OP cancers. Increasing age and stage drive treatment toward non-surgical options and no treatment at all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-982
Number of pages7
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Elderly age
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Radiation chemotherapy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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