Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) are associated with tobacco and alcohol; however, the prognostic relevance of these substances is unclear.
Univariate and multivariate survival analyses were performed for patients with (n = 1829) and without (n = 183) substance use.
HNSCC-specific survival (death due to primary-HNSCC or recurrent HNSCC) and HNSCC/second primary tumor–specific survival (death due to primary-HNSCC or recurrent HNSCC or second primary tumor) were not significantly different for patients who smoked and drank alcohol (hazard ratio [HR], 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86–1.85) and those who did not (HR, 1.34; 95% CI, 0.96–1.88). Overall survival was significantly affected; HR for patients who smoked and drank alcohol was 1.50 (95% CI, 1.16–1.93).
Although tobacco and alcohol use are the main risk factors for development of HNSCC, disease outcome was comparable in patients who did or did not use these substances. Tobacco and alcohol use affected overall survival, which emphasizes the importance of substance use cessation.
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