Predictors of acute grade 4 swallowing toxicity in patients with stages III and IV squamous carcinoma of the head and neck treated with radiotherapy alone.
ABSTRACT The purpose of the study was to investigate the predictive factors for acute grade 4 swallowing toxicity in an attempt to identify which patients may benefit from early intervention with enteral feeding during curative radiation treatment for localised Stages 3-4 squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. It was hypothesised that craniocaudal length of the treatment field to the upper neck and pharynx would correlate with grade 4 swallowing toxicity due to the increased volume of pharynx irradiated.
Toxicity data were collected prospectively as part of a phase III randomised trial (TROG 91:01) that assigned patients to either conventional (CRT) or accelerated radiotherapy (ART). Patients were randomly assigned to either CRT, using a single 2 Gy per day to a dose of 70 Gy in 35 fractions in 49 days or to ART, using 1.8 Gy twice a day to a dose of 59.4 Gy in 33 fractions in 24 days. Treatment allocation was stratified for site and stage. Accrual commenced in 1991 and the trial was closed in 1998 when the target of 350 patients was reached. Potential factors were analysed that predicted for Grade IV swallowing toxicity.
The treatment field lengths >82mm for the second phase increased the probability of requiring intervention with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) or Nasogastric tube (NGT). The probability of grade 4 swallowing was 36% if the phase 2 treatment length was >82mm vs 16% for less < or = 82mm(p=0.0001). A predictive enteral grading score (PEG score) was derived using the Cox regression coefficients: Field length of the boost volume >82mm scored 3 points, Stage grouping greater than 1 scored 1 point, altered fractionation scored 2 points, ECOG greater than 1 scored 1 point. The PEG score was 45% if the score was 6 and 19% if the score was <6 (p=0.0).
More attention needs to be focused on developing robust dose and volume constraints for the pharyngeal mucosa and the musculature in order to reduce the need for enteral feeding. Patients with PEG score of 6 or greater are at high risk of requiring enteral feeding during radiation treatment and should be considered for prophylactic PEG or NG feeding.
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ABSTRACT: Malnutrition is common among head and neck cancer patients and negatively impacts on survival and quality of life. This study aimed to identify predictors of malnutrition at time of diagnosis in order to identify patients at risk and enable early nutritional support and prevent malnutrition. A total of 134 patients with advanced oral and pharyngeal cancer were included in the study. Weight, body mass index (BMI), fat free mass (FFM), dysphagia, and quality of life were measured at diagnosis and after 6 months. Two definitions for malnutrition were applied: >10% weight loss and BMI <20 after 6 months. Six months after diagnosis, 66% of the patients were malnourished as per the >10% weight loss definition, and 26% of the patients were malnourished as per the BMI < 20 weight loss definition. In multivariate analysis, low BMI followed by low FFM and dysphagia were the strongest predictors for malnutrition using BMI <20. Chemotherapy and high BMI at diagnosis were the strongest predictors of malnutrition using the 10% weight loss definition. For patients treated with chemotherapy, the risk for malnutrition was very high both for patients with normal BMI (67%) and for patients with BMI 30 (89%). Unintended weight loss more than 10% seems to be the most reasonable definition of malnutrition for identifying predictors of this in head and neck cancer patients. The weight loss correlated significantly to a loss of FFM. Treatment with chemotherapy was a strong predictor, as was a high BMI at time of diagnosis. This is an important finding since overweight patients might not be considered at high risk for developing malnutrition, and consequently nutritional support for them might be delayed.The Laryngoscope 08/2013; · 1.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Progress in head and neck cancer (HNC) therapies has improved tumor response, loco-regional control, and survival. However, treatment intensification also increases early and late toxicities. Dysphagia is an underestimated symptom in HNC patients. Impairment of swallowing process could cause malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration, and pneumonia. A comprehensive literature review finalized in May 2012 included searches of electronic databases (Medline, Embase, and CAB abstracts) and scientific societies meetings materials (American Society of Clinical Oncology, Associazione Italiana Radioterapia Oncologica, Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Cervico-Cefalica, American Head and Neck Society, and European Society for Medical Oncology). Hand-searches of HNC journals and reference lists were carried out. Approximately one-third of dysphagia patients developed pneumonia requiring treatment. Aspiration pneumonia associated mortality ranged from 20% to 65%. Unidentified dysphagia caused significant morbidity, increased mortality, and decreased the quality of life. In this review we underline definition, causes, predictive factors of dysphagia and report on pretreatment and on-treatment evaluation, suggesting some key points to avoid underestimation. A multi-parameter assessment of swallowing problems may allow an earlier diagnosis. An appropriate evaluation might lead to a better treatment of both symptoms and cancer.Clinical and Experimental Otorhinolaryngology 09/2013; 6(3):117-126. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Background. Dysphagia is a common and debilitating side effect in head and neck radiotherapy (RT). Prognostic factors are numerous and their interrelationship not well understood. The aim of this study was to establish a multivariate prognostic model for acute and late dysphagia after RT, based on information from a prospective trial. Material and methods. The DAHANCA 6&7 randomized study included 1476 patients with head and neck cancer eligible for primary RT alone. Patients were randomized between 5 and 6 weekly fractions of conventional RT, and received 62-70 Gy in 31-35 fractions. Patients were scored for dysphagia weekly during treatment and at regular intervals until five years after treatment. Dysphagia scores were available from 1461 patients. Results. Acute dysphagia according to DAHANCA grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 occurred in 83%, 71%, 43% and 23%, respectively. Severe dysphagia occurred in 47% and 38% of patients receiving accelerated or conventional radiotherapy, respectively (p = 0.001). At one, two, three, four and five years the prevalence of chronic dysphagia above grade 0, was 46%, 32%, 29%, 24%, 23%, respectively with no difference between 5 and 6 fractions. In multivariate analysis, the following parameters were independent factors for severe acute dysphagia: T3-T4 tumors, N-positive disease, non-glottic cancer, age> median, baseline dysphagia > 1 and accelerated radiotherapy. The following factors were prognostic factors for late dysphagia: non-glottic cancer, T3-T4, N-positive disease and baseline dysphagia > 1. The data confirmed previously published predictive models, as it was possible to separate patients in groups with low, medium and high risk of dysphagia, respectively, based on pre-treatment risk scores. Conclusion. Prognostic models were established to characterize patients at risk of developing acute or late dysphagia in the DAHANCA 6&7 trial. The results may be useful to identify patients at risk of dysphagia and thus candidates for prophylactic measures against swallowing dysfunction.Acta oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden) 10/2013; 52(7):1535-42. · 2.27 Impact Factor