Clinicopathological characteristics and clinical morbidity in high-risk head and neck cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma patients in Western Australia

Piyush Grover, Stephanie Flukes, Angela Jacques, Samuel Leedman, Andrew Lindsay, Rohen White, Peter Friedland, Reuven Gurfinkel, Annette M. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: There is no registry data on morbidity and mortality of high-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) in Australia. Aim: To examine the clinicopathological features, mortality and morbidity in high-risk cSCC patients in Western Australia (WA). Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted through hospital record review on cSCC patients discussed at multidisciplinary meetings at the two largest WA hospitals between March 2015 and December 2016. Results: Of 141 patients, 129 were evaluable, with median follow up of 43.9 (range 3.0–53.2) months. Patients were predominantly older males (84%) with significant comorbidities (Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) ≥5; 76%) and history of previous nonmelanoma skin cancer (57%) with advanced disease (57% stage IV without distant metastasis; American Joint Committee on Cancer, 7th edition). Pathological high-risk features were common including nodal extracapsular extension (47%) and cranial nerve involvement (16%). Clinical morbidity was significant with a median of 2 (range 0–13) excisions and 2 (range 0–21) cSCC-related hospitalisations for any cSCC event following the index case discussion. Recurrences of the primary index lesion occurred in 60% of patients and 20% had ≥2 recurrences. Median overall survival for patients with nonmetastatic disease was 39.8 (range 25.9–53.7) months and 16.1 (range 0.2–32.0) months for metastatic disease. CCI ≥5, advanced nodal stage and ≥2 recurrences were significantly associated with mortality on multivariable analyses (P < 0.05). Nodal extracapsular extension and any recurrences were identified as significant risk factors for disease-specific mortality on multivariable analyses (P < 0.05). Conclusion: High-risk cSCC patients have significant health needs represented by high-baseline comorbidities, multiplicity of cSCC events and the number of healthcare-associated interventions. There is an unmet need for robust cancer data collection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-951
Number of pages8
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
  • high risk
  • outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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