Migraine and subsequent head and neck cancer: A nationwide population-based cohort study

Li Tzu Wang, Ping Hao Chiang, Chi Hsiang Chung, Mingyang Song, Sait Ashina, Wu Chien Chien, Kevin Sheng Kai Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The association of migraine with the risk of certain cancer has been reported. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the associations between migraine and the onset of head and neck cancers (HNC). Materials and Methods: A total of 1755 individuals were identified through a nationwide population-based cohort registry in Taiwan between 2000 and 2013. The primary end point variable was new-onset head and neck cancers in patients with migraine versus non-migraine controls. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to derive the risk of HNC. Subgroup analyses were performed to determine subpopulations at risk of migraine-associated HNC. Sub-outcome analyses were carried out to provide the subtypes of migraine-associated HNC. Propensity score matching was utilized to validate the findings. Results: A total of four patients out of 351 patients with migraine and seven out of 1404 non-migraine controls developed HNC. The incidence of HNC was higher in patients with migraine than that in non-migraine controls (108.93 vs. 48.77 per 100,000 person-years) (adjusted hazard ratio, aHR = 2.908, 95% CI = 0.808–10.469; p = 0.102). The risk of HNC in patients with migraine with aura (aHR = 5.454, 95% CI = 0.948–26.875; p = 0.264) and without aura (aHR = 2.777, 95% CI = 0.755–8.473; p = 0.118) was revealed. The incidence of non-nasopharyngeal HNC secondary to migraine (112.79 per 100,000 person-years) was higher than that of nasopharyngeal cancer secondary to migraine (105.33 per 100,000 person-years). Conclusion: A higher incidence of HNC was observed in a small sample of patients with migraine, especially in those with migraine with aura. Migraine-associated HNC included non-nasopharyngeal HNC. Studies with a larger sample are needed to confirm the finding of the high risk of HNC in people with migraine.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOral Diseases
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • cohort study
  • epidemiology
  • head and neck cancer
  • headache
  • migraine
  • migraine with aura
  • oral cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)


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