Influence of time between surgery and postoperative radiation therapy and total treatment time in locoregional control of patients with head and neck cancer: a single center experience

Head and Neck Cancer

Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2020;75:e1615. doi: 10.6061/clinics/2020/e1615. Epub 2020 Jul 22.


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the delay to initiate postoperative radiation therapy (RT) on locoregional control to head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort study that included patients submitted to surgery followed by adjuvant RT (with/without chemotherapy). The time interval between surgery and RT was dichotomized by the receiver operating characteristics curve method at 92 days. Other possible sources of heterogeneity with potential impact on locoregional control were explored by regressive analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 168 patients were evaluated. The median time for locoregional recurrence (LRR) was 29.7 months. The relapse-free survival rates were 66.4% and 75.4% for patients who initiated RT more than and within 92 postoperative days (p=0.377), respectively. Doses lower than 60Gy were associated with worse rates of locoregional control (HR=6.523; 95%CI:2.266-18.777, p=0.001). Patients whose total treatment time (TTT) was longer than 150 days had LRR rate of 41.8%; no patient with TTT inferior to 150 days had relapses (p=0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The interval between surgery and RT did not show influence on locoregional control rates. However, doses <60Gy and the total treatment time >150 days were associated with lower locoregional control rates.