Is History of Squamous-Cell Cancer a Marker of Poor Prognosis in Patients with Cancer

Johan Askling, Per Sorensen, Anders Ekbom, et al.
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Share article


Reviewers: Li Liu, MD
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, 131(9): 655-659, November 1999.


Précis: A study from Sweden claimed that a history of squamous-cell skin cancer appeared to be associated with a significant greater risk for death related to second cancers.

Introduction

It is known that people who have previously had a squamous-cell skin cancer are at increased risk for developing other types of non-skin cancers. However, what we don?t know is whether people who have a history of squamous-cell skin cancer in the past do worse when they develop second cancers compared with people who develop these same cancers but never had skin cancer. This population-based Swedish Cancer Registry study was designed to answer this question.

Method

A total of over 400,000 patients 20 to 99 years of age in the Swedish Cancer Registry who had a diagnosis of cancer of the colon, breast, prostate, or lung; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; or chronic lymphocytic leukemia between 1958 and 1996 were studied.

Results

Patients with a history of squamous-cell skin cancer had significantly increased relative risk for death following a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer or prostate cancer compared with patients who had the same cancer types without a history of skin cancer.

Discussion

A history of squamous-cell skin cancer appeared to be associated with a significant greater risk for death related to second cancers. The mechanism remains unclear. These results may not apply to persons outside of Sweden or to people with types of cancers other than the ones studied.