Smoking and Drinking Appear to Impact Survival for Oral Cancer

Patients with oral cancer who smoke and drank had higher all‐cause mortality and oral cancer‐specific mortality compared with patients with oral cancer who did not drink or smoke, according to a study published in Head & Neck.

The prospective study included 1,165 consecutive patients with oral cancer from the First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian Medical University in China from January 2005 to January 2019. Patients were categorized as non-smokers and -drinkers or smokers and drinkers. Researchers compared overall survival and disease‐specific survival between the two groups.

Non-smoking and -drinking patients accounted for 55.45% (n=646) of all patients with oral cancer. Patients with oral cancer who smoked and drank tended to be older, mostly male (98.46%), and have more advanced disease.

Mortality linked to smoking and drinking status

Before propensity score matching, patients with oral cancer who smoked and drank had a higher risk of all‐cause death (hazard ratio [HR], 1.678; 95% CI, 1.086‐2.594) and oral cancer-specific death (HR, 1.632; 95% CI, 1.044‐2.552). After propensity sore matching, the association between smoking and drinking and mortality was still significant, with adjusted HRs of 1.897 (95% CI, 1.138‐3.165) for all‐cause death and 1.764 (95% CI, 1.043‐2.983) for oral cancer‐specific death.

“Smoking and drinking provide any additional prognostic information beyond the traditional prognostic factors in patients with oral cancer,” the researchers concluded.