Head and neck cancer screening in patients eligible for liver transplantation

Head and Neck Cancer
21/05/2020

Castillo-Ledesma N, et al. Acta Otorrinolaringol Esp 2020.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Liver transplantation is the only alternative treatment in patients in end-stage liver function. In many cases the need for liver transplantation is a consequence of the toxic effects of alcohol. The aim of our study was to determine if patients who are candidates for a liver transplant require a systematic exploration of the head and neck to rule out malignant lesions in this area.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: All the candidates for a liver transplant, between 2011 and 2017, were included in our study. All of them underwent a systematic exploration of the head and neck by an otolaryngologist to rule out malignancy of the head and neck.

RESULTS: A total of 141 patients were included in our study. In 2 of them (1.3%) a carcinoma of the head and neck was detected (one of the oropharynx and the other of the larynx). Both patients were asymptomatic from an ENT point of view. They were treated with chemoradiotherapy. One of them died during follow-up due to the appearance of a metachronous lung tumour. The other is free of disease 2 years after diagnosis but without having been transplanted. Both patients had a history of smoking and high alcohol intake.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients who are candidates for a liver transplant who have a history of smoking and / or high alcohol intake, a pretransplant head and neck study including pharyngo-laryngeal fibroscopy is indicated.