Patterns of postoperative radiotherapy for head and neck cancer in Italy: A prospective, observational study by the head and neck group of the Italian Association for Radiation Oncology (AIRO)

Mauro Palazzi, Daniela Alterio, Sandro Tonoli, Orietta Caspiani, Andrea Bolner, Sara Colombo, Stefano Dall'Oglio, Luciana Lastrucci, Feisal Bunkheila, Michele Cianciulli, Riccardo Vigna Taglianti, Domenico Cante, Anna Merlotti, Ernestina Bianchi, Monica Rampino, Andrea Podhradska, Antonella Fontana, Fabiola Paiar, Francesco Micciché, Roberto ManzoStefano Ursino, Lorenza Bruschieri, Almalina Bacigalupo, Tiziana Iannone, Raffaella Barca, Stefano Tomatis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aims and background. Our previous survey showed that the patterns of postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) for head and neck cancer (HNC) in Italy might be suboptimal. A prospective observational study was therefore designed to evaluate this issue in greater detail. Methods. All radiotherapy centers involved in the HNC Working Group of the Italian Radiation Oncology Association were asked to enter into the study all patients treated with PORT during a 6-month period. Results. A total of 200 patients were accrued by 24 centers from December 2008 to May 2009. Larynx (38%) and oral cavity (34%) were the most common primary sites. The median time between surgery and the start of radiotherapy was 69 days (range, 25-215 days). Seventy-nine percent of cases with no evidence of risk factors for local recurrence were treated with high-dose radiotherapy to the primary site. In about 75% of cases the pN0 neck was included in the target volume. Concomitant chemotherapy was delivered to about 60% of patients with major risk factors and 21% of patients with no risk factors. Conclusions. Three issues emerged from our study as potential targets for future investigations: the impact on clinical outcome of the interval between surgery and the start of PORT; factors driving radiation oncologists to overtreat volumes at low risk of recurrence; and problems associated with the delivery of concomitant chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-176
Number of pages7
JournalTumori
Volume97
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Observational study
  • Postoperative radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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