Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 2825–2833 | Cite as

Pretreatment weight status and weight loss among head and neck cancer patients receiving definitive concurrent chemoradiation therapy: implications for nutrition integrated treatment pathways

  • Mary E. Platek
  • Elizabeth Myrick
  • Susan A. McCloskey
  • Vishal Gupta
  • Mary E. Reid
  • Gregory E. Wilding
  • David Cohan
  • Hassan Arshad
  • Nestor R. Rigual
  • Wesley L. HicksJr.
  • Maureen Sullivan
  • Graham W. Warren
  • Anurag K. Singh
Original Article



The purpose was to examine the effect of pretreatment weight status on loco-regional progression for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) after receiving definitive concurrent chemoradiation therapy (CCRT).


In an expanded cohort of 140 patients, we retrospectively reviewed weight status and loco-regional progression of SCCHN patients treated with CCRT between 2004 and 2010.


Pretreatment ideal body weight percentage (IBW%) was statistically significantly different for patients with disease progression than for those without progression (p = 0.02) but was not an independent predictor of progression. Median pretreatment IBW% was 118 (72–193) for the progression-free group and was 101.5 (73–163) for the group with progression. Both groups suffered clinically severe weight loss of approximately 9 % from baseline to end treatment.


Pretreatment weight status, a very crude indicator of nutrition status, may have prognostic value in patients with SCCHN undergoing definitive CCRT. Inadequate nutritional status in these patients has been associated with poor clinical outcomes and decreased quality of life. Based on this report and others, the best next steps include routine validated malnutrition screening and the testing of evidence-based nutrition care protocols with the goals of minimizing weight loss and improvement of quality of life.


Head and neck cancer Nutrition Nutrition status Radiation therapy Weight loss Quality of life 



This work was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health grant number R25CA114101.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary E. Platek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Myrick
    • 1
  • Susan A. McCloskey
    • 3
  • Vishal Gupta
    • 4
  • Mary E. Reid
    • 5
  • Gregory E. Wilding
    • 6
  • David Cohan
    • 4
  • Hassan Arshad
    • 4
  • Nestor R. Rigual
    • 4
  • Wesley L. HicksJr.
    • 4
  • Maureen Sullivan
    • 7
  • Graham W. Warren
    • 8
  • Anurag K. Singh
    • 8
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Prevention and Population SciencesRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public HealthNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Head and Neck/Plastic SurgeryRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Medicine and Cancer PreventionRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  6. 6.Department of BiostatisticsThe State University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  7. 7.Department of Dentistry and Maxillofacial ProstheticsRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  8. 8.Department of Radiation MedicineRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA

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