Postoperative radiotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinomas: feasibility of a biphasic accelerated treatment schedule

Giuseppe Sanguineti, Renzo Corvo', Vito Vitale, Rita Lionetto, Franca Foppiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: It has been suggested that postoperative tumor cell proliferation may influence the outcome of advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinomas treated by surgery and postoperative radiotherapy. This Phase I pilot study was undertaken to determine the feasibility of a biphasic accelerated radiotherapy regimen with early and late concomitant boost delivery for postoperative treatment of patients with advanced head and neck cancers. Methods and Materials: From April 1993 to April 1994, 29 patients with advanced head and neck cancers were enrolled in this study after they underwent complete surgical resection. The basic radiation course delivered a median dose of 49 Gy in 25 fractions over 5 weeks at 1.8-2 Gy/fraction. The concomitant boost was delivered to the high-risk areas as a second daily fraction during the first (1.4 Gy/fraction) and fifth weeks (1.6 Gy/fraction). The total dose to the high-risk areas was 64 Gy in 35 fractions over 5 weeks. Results: Twenty-seven patients (93%) completed the treatment without interruptions. Only two patients experienced severe acute toxicity requiring treatment breaks of 6 and 8 days, respectively. All patients developed confluent mucositis; in 69% of the cases it covered >50% of the treated surface. No patient developed Grade 5 (ulceration/bleeding) mucosal reaction. Mucositis required a median time of 7 weeks for complete healing (range 3-43). Two patients developed transient bone exposure. The median weight loss was 5.5% of pretreatment body weight (range 1.2-17.1%), and four patients required nutritional assistance with nasogastric feeding tube. Conclusion: The results of this study show that this biphasic acceleration regimen is feasible with acceptable acute toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1153
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1996


  • Accelerated fractionation
  • Acute toxicity
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Postoperative radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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