PURPOSE: To determine whether midline mucosa-sparing blocks (MSBs) protecting the aerodigestive tract can statistically significantly reduce acute toxicity during radiation therapy for carcinoma of the head and neck, without compromising tumor control. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Radiation records and simulation films were reviewed in 125 patients with carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx, or nasopharynx. Patients with and without MSBs were compared. Measures of acute toxicity during radiation therapy were weight loss (≥5%), hospitalization for nutritional support, and unplanned treatment interruptions (≥5 days). Actuarial local-regional tumor control was compared. RESULTS: Patients with MSBs had significantly less weight loss (26 of 50 vs 37 of 47 patients, P = .006), fewer hospitalizations for nutritional support (one of 61 vs seven of 64 patients, P = .04), and a trend toward fewer treatment interruptions (10 of 61 vs 19 of 64 patients, P = .07) than patients without MSBs. The 3-year actuarial tumor control rates in the neck were similar. CONCLUSION: Midline MSBs decrease acute toxicity during radiation therapy for carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx, and nasopharynx without compromising tumor control.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging