Stereotactic body radiotherapy as primary treatment for elderly and medically inoperable patients with head and neck cancer

Head and Neck Cancer
21/07/2020

Head Neck. 2020 Jul 21. doi: 10.1002/hed.26342. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) who are not candidates for definitive treatment represent an increasing challenge, with limited data to guide management. Conventional local therapies such as surgery and chemoradiation can significantly impact quality of life (QoL). There has been limited data published using stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) as primary treatment in previously unirradiated patients. We hypothesize that SBRT provides high rates of control while limiting toxicity.

METHODS: A total of 66 medically unfit previously unirradiated patients with HNC were treated with SBRT, consisting of 35-40 Gy to gross tumor volume and 30 Gy to clinical target volume in five fractions.

RESULTS: Median age was 80 years. Local control (LC) and overall survival (OS) at 1 year were 73% and 64%. Two patients experienced grade 3 toxicity.

CONCLUSION: SBRT shows acceptable outcomes with relatively low toxicity in previously unirradiated patients with HNC who are medically unfit for conventional treatment. SBRT may provide an aggressive local therapy with high rates of LC and OS while maintaining QoL.