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Baumeister, Philipp; Canis, Martin; Reiter, Maximilian (2018): Preoperative anemia and perioperative blood transfusion in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
In: PLOS One 13(10), e0205712
Creative Commons Attribution 702kB


Objectives To evaluate the impact of preoperative anemia and perioperative blood transfusion (PBT) on disease free (DFS) and overall survival (OS) of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Methods Retrospective study of 354 patients primarily treated with surgery between 2006 and 2016. Cases were selected according to completeness and accuracy of available clinical data. Thus, a selection bias cannot be excluded. Patients who received PBT were identified by our controlling department and verified by our blood bank data base. Results Both, preoperative anemia and PBT significantly decreased OS in univariate analysis. Although PBT was needed more frequently by older patients in worse physical conditions with more advanced HNSCC, subgroup analysis also demonstrate a profoundly negative effect of PBT on OS in younger patients and early stage HNSCC. According to a restrictive transfusion policy at our hospital the transfusion rate was comparably low. We could not verify increasing effects of PBT on cancer recurrence rates as it was previously shown. Discussion Preoperative anemia is the most common paraneoplastic syndrome in HNSCC. Despite its devastating prognostic effect we suggest a restrictive transfusion policy whenever possible. Our data also show that anemia as an independent prognostic factor in head and neck surgical oncology is defined not only by low hemoglobin concentrations but low red blood cell counts as well.