Clinical characteristics and prognosis of anal squamous cell carcinoma: a retrospective audit of 144 patients from 11 cancer hospitals in southern China

Yong Lu, Xiaohao Wang, Peiyang Li, Tao Zhang, Jiaming Zhou, Yufeng Ren, Yi Ding, Haihua Peng, Qichun Wei, Kaiyun You, Jason J. Ong, Christopher K. Fairley, Andrew E. Grulich, Meijin Huang, Yuanhong Gao, Huachun Zou

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BACKGROUND: The incidence of anal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has been steadily growing globally in the past decade. Clinical data on anal SCC from China are rare. We conducted this study to describe the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of anal SCC in China and explore prognostic factors of outcomes among patients with anal SCC. METHODS: We audited demographic characteristics, relevant symptoms, risk factors, treatment modalities and outcomes for patients diagnosed with anal SCC at 11 medical institutions in China between January 2007 and July 2018. RESULTS: A total of 144 patients (109 females) were diagnosed with SCC during this period. Median age at initial diagnosis was 52.0 (interquartile range: 46.0-61.8) years. The most common symptoms were bleeding (n = 93, 64.6%), noticing a lump (n = 49, 34.0%), and pain (n = 47, 32.6%). The proportion of patients at the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stages I-IV were 10 (6.9%), 22 (15.3%), 61 (42.4%) and 8 (5.6%), respectively, and AJCC stages in 43 (29.9%) patients were unknown. Thirty-six patients (25.0%) underwent abdominoperineal resection initially. Univariable analysis showed that T stage predicted recurrence-free survival (RFS) (Hazard ratio [HR] = 3.03, 95% Confidence interval [CI]: 1.10-8.37, p = 0.032), and age group (HR = 2.90, 95% CI: 1.12-7.49, p = 0.028), AJCC stage (HR = 4.56, 95% CI: 1.02-20.35, p = 0.046), and N stage (HR = 3.05, 95% CI: 1.07-8.74, p = 0.038) predicted overall survival (OS). CONCLUSIONS: T stage was identified as prognostic factor of RFS, and age, AJCC stage, and N stage were identified as prognostic factors of OS. Improving symptom awareness and earlier presentation among patients potentially at risk for anal SCC should be encouraged. Familiarity with the standard treatment among health care providers in China should be further improved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number679
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2020


  • Anal cancer
  • China
  • Epidemiology
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Treatment

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