Impact of chronic hepatitis C virus infection on the survival of patients with oropharyngeal cancer

Minas P. Economides, Moran Amit, Parag S. Mahale, Jeff J. Hosry, Ying Jiang, Uddalak Bharadwaj, Erich M. Sturgis, Harrys A. Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Although an association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and oropharyngeal cancers (OPCs) has been reported, to the authors' knowledge the clinical significance of this epidemiological finding remains unknown. Therefore, the authors analyzed the oncologic outcomes of HCV-infected patients with OPCs. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, all patients with OPCs who were seen at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between January 2004 and December 2015 were reviewed. HCV infection was defined as detectable HCV RNA in the serum. Five-year overall survival and progression-free survival rates were compared between patients infected with HCV and those not infected. RESULTS: A total of 161 patients were examined. The majority of the patients were white (141 patients; 88%) and male (132 patients; 82%) and had TNM stage III or IV disease (147 patients; 91%). The OPC involved the tonsils (83 patients; 52%), base of the tongue (67patients; 42%), or the soft palate (11 patients; 7%). The median follow-up after an OPC diagnosis was 3 years (range, 1-13 years). HCV-infected patients (25 patients) and HCV-uninfected patients (136 patients) were comparable with regard to smoking and alcohol status. In multivariate analysis, HCV was associated with increased cancer-specific mortality (hazard ratio, 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-6.85 [P =.02]) and risk of OPC progression (hazard ratio, 5.42; 95% confidence interval, 2.64-11.14 [P =.0008]) independent of age and cirrhosis status. Antivirals were administered after the diagnosis of OPC in 8 of the 25 HCV-infected patients (32%). HCV-infected patients who received antivirals were found to have better 5-year overall survival (70% vs 12%; P =.005) and progression-free survival (72% vs 19%; P =.005) compared with patients who did not. CONCLUSIONS: The early detection of HCV is important in patients with OPC because this infection may affect their oncologic outcomes. Cancer 2018;124:960-5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-965
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • antivirals
  • head and neck cancer
  • hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  • oropharyngeal cancer
  • overall survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of chronic hepatitis C virus infection on the survival of patients with oropharyngeal cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this