Tools for optimal tissue sparing in concomitant chemoradiation of advanced head and neck cancer: subcutaneous amifostine and computed tomography-based target delineation.
Author(s): Braaksma M, Levendag P
Affiliation(s): Department of Radiation Oncology, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam -Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Publication date & source: 2002-12, Semin Oncol., 29(6 Suppl 19):63-70.
Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial
Organ preservation in patients with head and neck cancer can be achieved using concomitant chemoradiation protocols. Critical tissues can be spared using highly conformal radiation therapy techniques and/or radiation protectors. With three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) tight target definitions of the primary tumor and neck nodal levels are mandatory. In 2000, a clinical trial for advanced-stage head and neck squamous cell carcinoma was initiated in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Patients are treated with paclitaxel administered concomitantly with 3DCRT and randomized to receive subcutaneous (SC) amifostine or no amifostine. Those in the radioprotectant arm received amifostine 500 mg SC before each radiation therapy (RT) fraction. This article presents early findings on toxicity. Acute toxicity is evaluated according to Radiation Therapy Oncology Group criteria. Xerostomia was scored subjectively and by whole saliva measurements. Neck nodal levels were delineated in accordance with previously published computed tomography (CT)-based guidelines developed in Rotterdam. Forty-one patients are the subject of this report. In patients treated with amifostine, mucositis and dysphagia took longer to resolve than with conventional RT schedules. No difference in objective and subjective evaluation of xerostomia was seen between treatment arms. So far in this ongoing study, no advantage of SC amifostine has been detected. This might be because of the toxicity of the concomitant treatment itself, the dose of amifostine, the route of administration, or the insufficient sparing of critical structures by 3DCRT. These early findings and the ongoing development of better tissue-sparing techniques with more accurate CT-based target delineation protocols and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are discussed. Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.