Radiation Therapy Treatment Outcomes for Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: a Tertiary Care Centre Experience in a Tier Three Town

B. S. Amina, S. Anshul, T. K. Sharan, R. S. Anusha, Shirley Lewis, V. Umesh, A. Priyanka, G. Tarun

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To report the outcomes of patients with head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCC) who received radiotherapy as a part of their first line treatment. All patients treated with radiotherapy for HNSCC between 2013 and 2017 were retrospectively identified from the department records. Patients with follow-up of less than 3 months following primary treatment were excluded. The demographic, disease and outcome details were retrieved from the patients’ hospital records. The disease free survival (DFS) was estimated with Kaplan–Meier analysis, and effect of different variables on DFS were compared using log-rank test. The late toxicities of treatment were also recorded and reported. A total of 311 patients were found to be eligible. Most patients were males (82%), and oral cavity cancers predominated (45.3%). 237 patients (76.2%) had locally advanced disease at presentation. Radiotherapy was used as definitive treatment for 152 patients (48.9%). At a median follow up of 14.8 months (range: 3–85.2 months), the estimated Disease-Free Survival (DFS) was 52.7 months (95%CI: 37.7–67.7 months). Locally advanced disease correlated with a significantly lower median DFS (61.2 vs. 32.8 months; p = 0.01), but other factors, including gender, use of concurrent chemotherapy and adjuvant vs definitive radiotherapy appeared to have no statistical association with DFS. 181 (58.2%) patients had chronic RT-related toxicities at last follow-up, but most were generally mild, most frequently subcutaneous fibrosis (48.6%, which occurred significantly more frequently in patients receiving adjuvant RT following surgery- 40.8% versus 57.2%; p = 0.03) and xerostomia (32.4%). Radiation induced osteoradionecrosis was rare, occurring in only three (1%).Most HNSCC patients present with locally advanced disease, where disease control remains poor. Though there is substantial toxicity following treatment, the risk of severe toxicities with modern radiotherapy is low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6146 - 6150
JournalIndian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 12-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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