[Skip to Navigation]
February 1995

Role of Genetic Factors in the Etiology of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Copper, Braakhuis, de Vries, and Snow), Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Pathology (Drs Jovanovic and van der Waal), and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Mr Nauta), Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(2):157-160. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890020019005

Objective:  To determine the role of genetic predisposition in the etiology of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Design:  Retrospective study.

Setting:  The outpatient clinics of the departments of otorhinolaryngology and maxillofacial surgery.

Patients:  First-degree relatives of patients with new head and neck cancer, with first-degree relatives of the patients' spouses as controls.

Main Outcome Measure:  Occurrence of cancer of the respiratory and upper digestive tract in relatives of patients with head and neck cancer and controls.

Results:  First-degree relatives (n=617) of 105 patients with head and neck cancer had 31 cases of cancer of the respiratory and upper digestive tract vs 10 cases in the control group (n=618) (relative risk, 3.5; P=.0002). This higher rate of cancer was even larger in siblings (16 vs 2, relative risk, 14.6; P=.0001).

Conclusions:  Genetic predisposition is an important risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:157-160)

Add or change institution