JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Establishment and Validation of a Predictive Model for Radiation-Associated Aspiration Pneumonia in Patients with Radiation-Induced Dysphagia after Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.

INTRODUCTION: Radiotherapy for patients with head and neck cancers raises their risk of aspiration pneumonia-related death. We aimed to develop and validate a model to predict radiation-associated aspiration pneumonia (RAP) among patients with dysphagia after radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 453 dysphagic patients with NPC were retrospectively recruited from Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital from January 2012 to January 2018. Patients were randomly divided into training cohort ( n = 302) and internal validation cohort ( n = 151) at a ratio of 2 : 1. The concordance index (C-index) and calibration curve were used to evaluate the accuracy and discriminative ability of this model. Moreover, decision curve analysis was performed to evaluate the net clinical benefit. The results were externally validated in 203 dysphagic patients from the First People's Hospital of Foshan.

RESULTS: Derived from multivariable analysis of the training cohort, four independent factors were introduced to predict RAP, including Kubota water drinking test grades, the maximum radiation dose of lymph node gross tumor volume (Dmax of the GTVnd), neutrophil count, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). The nomogram showed favorable calibration and discrimination regarding the training cohort, with a C-index of 0.749 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.681 to 0.817), which was confirmed by the internal validation cohort (C-index 0.743; 95% CI, 0.669 to 0.818) and the external validation cohort (C-index 0.722; 95% CI, 0.606 to 0.838).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study established and validated a simple nomogram for RAP among patients with dysphagia after radiotherapy for NPC.

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