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Dysphagia after definitive radiotherapy for head and neck cancer

Mon, Jan 14, 2013

Oral Cancer News

Source: Strahlentherapie und Onkologie



Dysphagia is a complication of head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy (RT). We analysed frequency and severity of swallowing dysfunction and correlated these findings with dose–volume histograms (DVHs) of the pharyngeal constrictor muscles.


A total of 50 patients treated by radical RT were enrolled. DVHs of constrictor muscles were correlated with acute and late dysphagia and with the items of three quality of life questionnaires.


Mean dose to superior and middle constrictor muscles (SCM, MCM), partial volume of SCM and MCM receiving a dose ≥ 50 Gy dose to the whole constrictor muscles ≥ 60 Gy and tumour location were associated to late dysphagia at univariate analysis. Mean dose to the MCM was the only statistically significant predictor of late dysphagia at the multivariable analysis.


The study shows a significant relationship between long-term dysphagia and mean doses to SCM, MCM, whole constrictor muscles, and oropharyngeal tumour. This finding suggests a potential advantage in reducing the RT dose to swallowing structures to avoid severe dysphagia.

 This article was sourced by The Oral Cancer Foundation and vetted for accuracy and appropriateness.
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