Long-term oral effects in patients treated with radiochemotherapy for head and neck cancer
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The purpose of this study is to assess the late oral complications and the role of salivary gland hypofunction in the severity of mucosal reaction in nonsurgical head and neck cancer patients, submitted to radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy.
Methods and materials
Five hundred fifteen charts from patients treated between 2005 and 2009 were reviewed, and 41 patients met the inclusion criteria. Salivary gland function was assessed using a simplified grading system (GSX) and sialometry. Late effects were assessed using the Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC Version 2.0).
The average follow-up was 17.1 (4–51) months. A statistical correlation was found for whole salivary flow rates and the average CTC grades for the mucous membrane. Both unstimulated/stimulated whole salivary flow rates (<0.09 mL/min) were identified as potential risk factors (p < 0.05) and an independent predictor for late mucous membrane toxicity (≥grade 2). A significant correlation was also found between unstimulated salivary flow rates—GSX scores (p = 0.001) and CTC grades for salivary glands. Eighty-five percent of the patients were classified as suffering from salivary gland hypofunction, as well as 58.2 % considered dryness of the mouth the most debilitating complication.
Considering the late effects assessed, the salivary gland hypofunction was the most significant and received the highest morbidity graduation (grade 2/grade 3); xerostomia was also considered the most debilitating complication after treatment. Data show the role of salivary gland hypofunction in the severity of late mucous membrane complication.
KeywordsRadiotherapy Chemotherapy Late effect Head and neck cancer Oral complication
We are especially grateful for the patients for their participation in this study.
Conflict of interest
The authors report no actual or potential conflict of interest.
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