Prospective randomized study of intensity-modulated radiotherapy on salivary gland function in early-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients.J Clin Oncol. 2007 Nov 01; 25(31):4873-9.JC
This randomized trial compared the rates of delayed xerostomia between two-dimensional radiation therapy (2DRT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in the treatment of early-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Between November 2001 and December 2003, 60 patients with T1-2bN0-1M0 NPC were randomly assigned to receive either IMRT or 2DRT. Primary end point was incidence of observer-rated severe xerostomia at 1 year after treatment based on Radiotherapy Oncology Group /European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer late radiation morbidity scoring criteria. Parallel assessment with patient-reported outcome, stimulated parotid flow rate (SPFR), and stimulated whole saliva flow rate (SWSFR) were also made.
At 1 year after treatment, patients in IMRT arm had lower incidence of observer-rated severe xerostomia than patients in the 2DRT arm (39.3% v 82.1%; P = .001), parallel with a higher fractional SPFR (0.90 v 0.05; P < .0001), and higher fractional SWSFR (0.41 v 0.20; P = .001). As for patient's subjective feeling, although a trend of improvement in patient-reported outcome was observed after IMRT, recovery was incomplete and there was no significant difference in patient-reported outcome between the two arms.
IMRT is superior to 2DRT in preserving parotid function and results in less severe delayed xerostomia in the treatment of early-stage NPC. Incomplete improvement in patient's subjective xerostomia with parotid-sparing IMRT reflects the need to enhance protection of other salivary glands.