Incidence and Prognosis of Brain Metastases in Head and Neck Cancer Patients at Diagnosis.

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Limited data is available on head and neck cancer (HNC) patients presenting with brain metastases (BM) at initial diagnosis. We sought to evaluate the incidence, management, and treatment outcomes of these patients using the National Cancer Database (NCDB).We identified 465,925 patients diagnosed with HNC between 2010 and 2015 in the NCDB. 14,583 of these patients presented with metastatic disease to any site. 440 of these patients had BM at the time of initial diagnosis. Overall survival was compared using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox proportional hazard modeling, propensity score matching, and subgroup analyses were performed.The median age overall was 62.0 years. Nasopharynx NOS (13.2%) and Parotid Gland (10.9%) were the most common anatomical sites with the highest frequency of BM. The overall median survival time was 7.1 months. Predictors for the presence of BM included distant metastasis to the bone, liver, or lung on univariate analysis, and bone or lung on multivariate analysis. High-risk Human Papilloma Virus status was associated with a lower chance of BM. No pattern was determined when comparing lymph node level involvement and BM. The median survival for patients receiving radiation therapy and multi-agent chemotherapy was 8.4 and 11.7 months, respectively. Immunotherapy administered as first course therapy did not influence median survival. Most patients received radiation (62.7%) therapy and chemotherapy (50.2%).The data extracted and analyzed from the NCDB should work to aid in the surveillance and management of BM in patients with HNC.Level 4. Laryngoscope, 2021.

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Authors: Ian Messing, Sharad Goyal, Jonathan H Sherman, Punam Thakkar, Robert Siegel, Arjun Joshi, Joseph Goodman, Martin Ojong-Ntui, Yuan James Rao