Advanced head and neck carcinoma in women: treatment outcomes may not improve with accelerated hyperfractionated radiotherapy.Cancer. 2001 Jun 15; 91(12):2353-60.C
The authors undertook a retrospective study on local tumor control, survival, and complications of conventional irradiation compared with accelerated hyperfractionated irradiation in women with selected head and neck tumor sites.
One hundred eight consecutive women who were treated with radiation alone for cure during 1974-1998 were analyzed. Patients were excluded who had T1 tumors of the vocal cord and those who were treated with brachytherapy implants. Fifty-nine patients were treated with conventional fractionation once daily (QD) during 1974-1998 with a median dose of 2.1 grays (Gy) per fraction up to a total median dose of 69 Gy in a median overall time of 54 days. Forty-nine patients were treated with accelerated hyperfractionation twice daily (BID) during 1987-1998 at a median dose of 1.6 Gy per fraction BID, with an interfraction interval of 4-6 hours, for a total median dose of 66 Gy in 35 days. Patients were not randomized into the QD group or the BID group.
The 7-year actuarial local control (LC) rates for T1-T2 tumors in QD-treated and BID-treated patients were 79% and 87%, respectively (P = not significant [NS]). For T3-T4 tumors, the LC rates at 7 years were 59% and 56% for the QD and BID groups, respectively (P = NS). A Cox regression analysis for LC showed that the significant variables were T classification and overall time. Schedule (QD or BID), total dose, dose per fraction, and patient age were not significant variables. For the QD and BID groups, the 7-year actuarial cause specific survival rates for patients with Stage I-II disease were 100% and 65%, respectively (P = 0.004), and, for patients with Stages III-IVA,IVB disease, the rates were 39% and 56%, respectively (P = NS), respectively. Acute morbidity was higher with the BID schedule: In the BID group, 8% of patients required tube or parenteral feeding, and 0% of patients in the QD group required such feeding (P = 0.04). The 5-year actuarial probability of Grade 3-5 late effects (according to the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer grading system) was 4% for the BID group and 0% for the QD group (P = NS).
This study suggests that accelerated hyperfractionated irradiation for women with advanced carcinoma of the head and neck does not provide significantly better local tumor control or cause specific disease free survival compared with conventional fractionation. Women with these malignancies appear to have a better prognosis compared with men.