Published in Cancer 2009, the journal of the American Cancer Society
Copyright 2002 by Vincent Vander Poorten MD PhD, University Hospitals Leuven
The following links will bring you to a software program. For patients, diagnosed for the first time with a malignant tumor of the parotid gland, this program can help in estimating the chance of cure following the first treatment.
Upon entering the required information about the patient and the tumor, the program will compute an estimate of prognosis both in the situation before treatment and in the situation following the surgical treatment. This estimate of prognosis is a percentage chance to stay tumor free for five years following treatment. Your doctor must assist you with the elements that need to be entered in the program, and also with the interpretation of the resulting estimated chance of being cured five years following treatment.
The elements that need to be entered were all identified using a statistical technique called Cox proportional hazards analysis.
Before treatment, it is often not sure yet whether a parotid tumor is indeed malignant.
The estimate of chance of cure in the situation before any treatment is thus a conditional estimate and has to be interpreted as follows: “If the swelling in the parotid gland this patient presents with, turns out to be malignant following surgery, there is a ….% chance of staying tumor free following completion of treatment”. (Button: “before treatment”)
Following surgery and histopathological examination of the resected parotid gland, containing the tumor, the important information resulting from this investigation will also be entered in the model and will result in a new estimate of prognosis. (Button: “after treatment”)
The program will give:
corresponding to one of four groups of patients with differing prognosis the corresponding five year recurrence free percentage (an estimate of the chance of being cured five years following diagnosis and treatment), and its standard error (an estimate of the precision of this estimate)
a five year recurrence free interval curve: the Y-axis displays the percentage of patients that are still tumor free at every time spot on the X-axis
- an overview of the four recurrence free interval curves , corresponding to the four patient groups one can belong to, in order to facilitate comparison to other patients.
This interactive patient information program was written to serve as a concrete quantification of prognosis for newly-diagnosed patients with cancer of the parotid gland. It intends to help the head and neck oncologist in the discussion with the patient with the aim of improving understanding the disease. For patients, it is absolutely required to interpret the results of the prognostic indices only following a discussion with a specialized healthcare provider, in casu head and neck oncologist.
Despite exhaustive efforts by the researchers at the Netherlands’ Cancer Institute, the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium, and the Dutch Head and Neck Oncology Cooperative Group, the accuracy and completeness of this work cannot be guaranteed.
The prognostic descriptions cannot substitute for the explanations, clinical judgment, and individualized therapeutic recommendations which only your physicians can provide.
While we believe that this information is valid, we do not assume any responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of information provided by this program. Patients should make treatment decisions only after consultation with appropriate healthcare providers, in case head and neck oncologists.
Vincent Vander Poorten MD PhD
Augustinus A.M. Hart MSc
Alfonsus J.M. Balm MD PhD