JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prospective evaluation of patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes following SBRT ± cetuximab for locally-recurrent, previously-irradiated head and neck cancer

John A Vargo, Dwight E Heron, Robert L Ferris, Jean-Claude M Rwigema, Rodney E Wegner, Ronny Kalash, James Ohr, Greg J Kubicek, Steven Burton
Radiotherapy and Oncology 2012, 104 (1): 91-5
22677037

PURPOSE: Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has emerged as a promising salvage strategy for unresectable, previously-irradiated recurrent squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (rSCCHN). Here-in, we report the first prospective evaluation of patient-reported quality-of-life (PR-QoL) following re-irradiation with SBRT±cetuximab for rSCCHN.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: From November 2004 to May 2011, 150 patients with unresectable, rSCCHN in a previously-irradiated field receiving >40 Gy were treated with SBRT to 40-50 Gy in 5 fractions ± concurrent cetuximab. PR-QoL was prospectively acquired using the University of Washington Quality-of-Life Revised (UW-QoL-R).

RESULTS: Overall PR-QoL, health-related PR-QoL, and select domains commonly affected by re-irradiation progressively increase following an initial 1-month decline with statistically significant improvements noted in swallowing (p=0.025), speech (p=0.017), saliva (p=0.041), activity (p=0.032) and recreation (p=0.039).

CONCLUSIONS: Especially for patients surviving >1-year, improved tumor control associated with SBRT re-irradiation may ameliorate decreased PR-QoL resulting from rSCCHN. These improvements in PR-QoL transcend all measured domains in a validated PR-QoL assessment tool independent of age, use of cetuximab, tumor volume, and interval since prior irradiation.

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