Prophylactic gastrostomy placement and early tube feeding may limit loss of weight during chemoradiotherapy for advanced head and neck cancer, a preliminary study.Clin Otolaryngol. 2007 Oct; 32(5):384-90.CO
Most patients with advanced head and neck cancer receiving chemoradiotherapy need tube feeding for at least some weeks. For these periods gastrostomy tubes have advantages over nasogastric tubes. Tube feeding may start earlier and thus loss of weight may be limited if the gastrostomy tube already is in place. The objective of this study is to analyse the results of prophylactic percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube placement and early tube feeding.
Retrospective chart review.
Multidisciplinary head and neck oncology team in a general hospital.
Fifty consecutive patients with unresectable stage III and IV head and neck cancer treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy. In all patients prophylactic PEG placement was performed. Tube feeding was initiated if food-intake became insufficient or loss of weight occurred.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Loss of weight during treatment, complication rate, PEG duration.
The mean loss of weight during treatment for all patients was only 2.8%. One complication of tube placement occurred: a colon perforation, treated successfully by surgery. The median duration of the PEG was 178 days. Three of the 17 patients (18%) with no evidence of disease (NED) still had a PEG at their last follow-up visit. Of the 26 patients who died of their cancer, 13 used the PEG until death.
Loss of weight was limited after prophylactic gastrostomy placement and early tube feeding. Moreover, the complication rate was low. In 82% of the NED patients the PEG could eventually be removed.