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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 43-47

Split-Course radiotherapy: A nonideal treatment in a nonideal patient

1 Department of Radiotherapy, MMIMSR, Ambala, Haryana, India
2 Department of Radiotherapy, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pragyat Thakur
House No. 1121, Sector 15b, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jhnps.jhnps_33_16

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Background: Radical chemoradiation is the standard of care for locally advanced head-and-neck cancer. However, patients with pretreatment poor risk features exhibit a poor tolerance to these rigorous regimens and are then usually prescribed short-course palliative radiotherapy which provides symptomatic relief; however, survival outcomes are poor. However, a proportion of these patients may tolerate higher dose of radiation with planned treatment break which in turn may translate into improved locoregional control. Materials and Methods: Patients with histologically confirmed nonmetastatic locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of oropharynx with poor risk features, treated with split-course radiotherapy were included in this retrospective study. A dose of 35 Gy in 15# 3 weeks was initially prescribed. After planned treatment break of 2 weeks, an additional dose of 25 Gy in 10# 2 weeks was delivered. A weekly assessment of radiation reactions was performed during the treatment course, and response to the treatment was assessed clinically at 8 weeks after treatment completion and on subsequent follow-up. Survival analysis was done at median follow-up. Results: Of the 117 eligible patients, 14 (11.9%) had Stage III (with poor Karnofsky Performance Score) and 103 (88.1%) had Stage IV disease. Toxicity was observed as Grade I 80/117 (68.4%), Grade II 20/117 (17.1%), and Grade III as 17/117 (14.5%). A complete clinical response was observed in 45.3% patients at first follow-up. Patients had a median follow-up of 20 months (range 0–62 months). Median progression-free survival and overall survival were 12 and 16 months, respectively. Conclusions: This regimen can be delivered effectively and has an acceptable toxicity profile. It can be used as a treatment option in patients with poor risk pretreatment features.

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