Purpose: To propose a risk classification scheme for locoregionally advanced (Stages III and IV) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (LA-HNSCC) by using the Wu comorbidity score (WCS) to quantify the risk of curative surgeries, including tumor resection and radical neck dissection. Methods: This study included 55,080 patients with LA-HNSCC receiving curative surgery between 2006 and 2015 who were identified from the Taiwan Cancer Registry database; the patients were classified into two groups, mortality (n = 1287, mortality rate = 2.34%) and survival (n = 53,793, survival rate = 97.66%), according to the event of mortality within 90 days of surgery. Significant risk factors for mortality were identified using a stepwise multivariate Cox proportional hazards model. The WCS was calculated using the relative risk of each risk factor. The accuracy of the WCS was assessed using mortality rates in different risk strata. Results: Fifteen comorbidities significantly increased mortality risk after curative surgery. The patients were divided into low-risk (WCS, 0–6; 90-day mortality rate, 0–1.57%), intermediate-risk (7–11; 2.71–9.99%), high-risk (12–16; 17.30–20.00%), and very-high-risk (17–18 and >18; 46.15–50.00%) strata. The 90-day survival rates were 98.97, 95.85, 81.20, and 53.13% in the low-, intermediate-, high-, and very-high-risk patients, respectively (log-rank p < 0.0001). The five-year overall survival rates after surgery were 70.86, 48.62, 22.99, and 18.75% in the low-, intermediate-, high-, and very-high-risk patients, respectively (log-rank p < 0.0001). Conclusion: The WCS is an accurate tool for assessing curative-surgery-related 90-day mortality risk and overall survival in patients with LA-HNSCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number392
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 22 2018


  • Comorbidity score
  • Curative surgery
  • Locoregionally advanced
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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