Prognostic factors analysis for oral cavity cancer survival in the Netherlands and Taiwan using a privacy-preserving federated infrastructure

Gijs Geleijnse*, RuRu Chun-Ju Chiang, Melle Sieswerda, Melinda Schuurman, K. C. Lee, Johan van Soest, Andre Dekker, Wen-Chung Lee, Xander A. A. M. Verbeek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The difference in incidence of oral cavity cancer (OCC) between Taiwan and the Netherlands is striking. Different risk factors and treatment expertise may result in survival differences between the two countries. However due to regulatory restrictions, patient-level analyses of combined data from the Netherlands and Taiwan are infeasible. We implemented a software infrastructure for federated analyses on data from multiple organisations. We included 41,633 patients with single-tumour OCC between 2004 and 2016, undergoing surgery, from the Taiwan Cancer Registry and Netherlands Cancer Registry. Federated Cox Proportional Hazard was used to analyse associations between patient and tumour characteristics, country, treatment and hospital volume with survival. Five factors showed differential effects on survival of OCC patients in the Netherlands and Taiwan: age at diagnosis, stage, grade, treatment and hospital volume. The risk of death for OCC patients younger than 60 years, with advanced stage, higher grade or receiving adjuvant therapy after surgery was lower in the Netherlands than in Taiwan; but patients older than 70 years, with early stage, lower grade and receiving surgery alone in the Netherlands were at higher risk of death than those in Taiwan. The mortality risk of OCC in Taiwanese patients treated in hospitals with higher hospital volume (>= 50 surgeries per year) was lower than in Dutch patients. We conducted analyses without exchanging patient-level information, overcoming barriers for sharing privacy sensitive information. The outcomes of patients treated in the Netherlands and Taiwan were slightly different after controlling for other prognostic factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20526
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2020


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