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Comparison of two schedules of hypo-fractionated radiotherapy in locally advanced head-and-neck cancers

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Sardar Patel Medical College, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Guncha Maheshwari,
Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_1793_20

Aim: In India, more than 70% patients present as locally advanced head-and-neck cancers (LAHNC), with poor performance status and are suitable candidates for palliative radiotherapy (RT) aimed at symptom relief. This prospective study aims to compare two different short course hypo-fractionated RT regimens in patients of LAHNC at a regional cancer centre of north-west India. Materials and Methods: A total of 70 patients of LAHNC were randomized to receive palliative RT in two groups of 35 each. Group A received 30 Gy/10# over 2 weeks and Group B received 20 Gy/5# over 1 week. Baseline symptoms of pain, dysphagia, insomnia, dysphonia, bleeding, fungation, and dyspnea were assessed before the start of study. The first assessment for toxicities, subjective and objective response was done at the conclusion of RT and then after 4–6 weeks. Results: Out of total 70 patients, 71% were males and 29% were females with a median age of 54 years. The most common sites were oropharynx (39%) followed by larynx (24%), oral cavity (20%), and hypopharynx (17%). Nearly 60% of the patients in both groups presented in stage IV and 40% in stage III. At conclusion of RT and at 4–6 weeks follow-up, both groups showed similar results in terms of symptom palliation, objective response, and acute toxicities. Group B showed higher incidence of Grade III and above mucositis (P = 0.027). Median overall survival was found to be 5.9 months (range 1–15 months) in group A and 6.1 months (range 1–18 months) in Group B. Conclusion: Hypo-fractionated RT promises to effectively relieve symptoms in LAHNC and reduces the need of analgesics and hospital visits. Furthermore, a shorter overall treatment time is beneficial at high volume centers and is also welcomed by patients with shorter life expectancy.

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