Bone metastases from head and neck malignancies: Prognostic factors and skeletal-related events

Salvatore Grisanti, Susanna Bianchi, Laura D Locati, Luca Triggiani, Stefania Vecchio, Alberto Bonetta, Cristiana Bergamini, Pierfranco Conte, Mario Airoldi, Marco Merlano, Paolo Carlini, Toni Ibrahim, Ciro Rossetto, Salvatore Alfieri, Paolo Pronzato, Sandro Tonoli, Roberto Maroldi, Piero Nicolai, Carlo Resteghini, Stefano M MagriniAlfredo Berruti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: We conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis to describe the characteristics, frequency of skeletal-related events (SREs), and prognosis of head and neck cancer (HNC) in patients with bone metastases (BM).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The data of 192 HNC patients with BMs were collected. Analyses were conducted separately in 64 nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patients and in 128 non-NPC patients.

RESULTS: SREs occurred in 34 (27%) non-NPC and in 6 (9%) NPC patients, respectively. Median overall survival (OS) was 25 and 6 months in NPC and non-NPC patients, respectively. Locoregional recurrence (hazard ratio [HR] 2.33, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-4.93), synchronous BM (HR 0.25, 95% CI 0.59-0.71) and bone-directed therapies (BDT) (HR 0.26, 95% CI 0.10-0.68) were independent prognostic factors for OS in NPC patients. Combined bone radiotherapy (RT) and BDT in NPC patients obtained longer survival (38 months) than either therapy alone (25 months) or neither of these therapies (8 months).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with BMs from non-NPC have a poor prognosis and are at high risk of SREs. NPC patients with BMs are at relatively low risk of SREs. BDT may potentially improve survival, particularly when combined with bone RT. This last finding deserves prospective confirmation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0213934
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Neoplasms/pathology
  • Bone and Bones/pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms/pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


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