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Previous Tonsillectomy Modifies Odds of Tonsil and Base of Tongue Cancer


Zevallos, Jose P.; Mazul, Angela L.; Rodriguez, Nidia; Weissler, Mark Christian; Brennan, Paul; Anantharaman, Devasena; Abedi-Ardekani, Behnoush; Neil Hayes, D.; & Olshan, Andrew F. (2016). Previous Tonsillectomy Modifies Odds of Tonsil and Base of Tongue Cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 114, 832-838. PMCID: PMC4984870


BACKGROUND: Tonsillectomy is a commonly performed surgical procedure that involves removal of the palatine tonsils. The purpose of this study is to examine the association between previous tonsillectomy and odds of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) in a large population-based case-control study. We hypothesise that previous tonsillectomy is associated with a decreased odds of tonsil cancer with no impact on the odds of developing base of tongue (BOT) cancer.
METHODS: This was a population-based, frequency-matched case-control study with multinomial logistic regression, including 1378 controls, 108 BOT cancer cases, and 198 tonsil cancer cases. Demographic and risk factor data were collected using a structured questionnaire during an in-home visit conducted by trained nurse-interviewers. The human papillomavirus (HPV) tumour status was determined through Luminex-based multiplex PCR and p16 status by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Previous tonsillectomy was associated with a nearly two-fold increased odds of BOT cancer (OR=1.95, 95% CI 1.25-3.06,


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

British Journal of Cancer


Zevallos, Jose P.
Mazul, Angela L.
Rodriguez, Nidia
Weissler, Mark Christian
Brennan, Paul
Anantharaman, Devasena
Abedi-Ardekani, Behnoush
Neil Hayes, D.
Olshan, Andrew F.