To determine if the use of autologous blood ameliorates the increased risk for cancer recurrence that has been associated with perioperative blood transfusion.
Retrospective medical record review.
Tertiary care hospital.
One hundred sixty-five consecutive patients with stages II to IV squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck treated surgically at a university hospital from January 1, 1989, through December 31, 1994.
Main Outcome Measures
We evaluated the impact of perioperative autologous and heterologous blood transfusion and 10 other variables on recurrence. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used.
Heterologous blood recipients had a 59% recurrence rate, whereas those who had received autologous blood or no transfusion had recurrence rates of 33% and 35%, respectively. The following 4 variables had a statistically significant association with recurrence by multivariate analysis: previous treatment of current malignancy (P<.001); receipt of heterologous blood (P=.04); positive margin (P=.04); and nodal disease (P=.04). The receipt of heterologous blood was associated with a 40% increased risk for recurrence.
Autologous blood products should be used during head and neck cancer surgery if possible when transfusion is necessary.