Background: Brain metastasis from primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is infrequent and probably under-reported thereby leading to paucity of information. Methods: Archives of two institutes in India were studied from 2005 to 2013 and relevant information regarding patient demographics, treatment details, and follow-up was obtained for patients having brain metastasis (BM) from HNSCC. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 20 (IBM Corporation, NY, USA). Results: Metastasis to the brain was detected in 17 patients with an HNSCC primary. The median age for diagnosis of index primary was 55 years (range (R) - 32-71 years) with 88% (15/17) being male. Oral cavity was the most common site of primary disease with 35% (6/17) followed by larynx (24%), oropharynx (18%), and hypopharynx (18%). The median stage at presentation was IVA (47%) and two (12%) were metastatic to the brain at presentation. Human papillomavirus analysis was not available for any of the patients. Neurological symptoms were complained of in 94% patients. The median BM-free-interval was 15 months (R - 1-67 months, SE ± 5.2). While 88% had multiple brain metastases, 82% also had extracranial metastasis and in 53% of patients, the index primary was not controlled. The median overall survival of all patients after the development of BM was 2 months (R - 0.5-6 months, SE ± 0.4). Conclusion: BM in HNSCC is mostly multiple, associated with extracranial metastasis and can occur in patients without locoregional relapse or residual disease and carries a dismal outcome.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging