Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology

Writer: Tawee Tanvetyanon, Tapan Padhya, Judith McCaffrey, Weiwei Zhu, David Boulware, Ronald DeConti, and Andrea Trotti From the Head and Neck and Thoracic Programs, and the Statistic Core, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL.

Purpose: Patients who develop recurrent or new primary head and neck cancer in a previously irradiated site have poor prognosis. Reirradiation is a treatment option, although it is associated with substantial toxicities. We investigated potential prognostic factors, including comorbidity and pre-existing organ dysfunction, for survival after reirradiation.

Methods: Institutional electronic records of patients treated with reirradiation between January 1998 and 2008 were reviewed. Comorbidity was assessed by Charlson index and Adult Comorbidity Evaluation-27 (ACE-27) grading. Organ dysfunction was defined as feeding tube dependency, functioningtracheostomy, or soft tissue defect.

Results: There were 103 patients, including 46 patients who underwent salvage surgery before reirradiation. Median progression-free and overall survivals were 12.1 months (95% CI, 9.7 to 16.6) and 19.3 months (95% CI, 13.9 to 29.9), respectively. Significant comorbidity was present in 36% of patients by Charlson index and 24% by ACE-27. Baseline organ dysfunction was present in 37% of patients. Median overall survivals were 5.5 months among those with both organ dysfunction and comorbidity per Charlson index, and 4.9 months per ACE-27, compared with 59.6 and 44.2 months, respectively, among the patients with neither organ dysfunction nor comorbidity (P) .001 and < .001). Other independent prognostic factors were interval from previous radiation, recurrent tumor stage, tumor bulk at reirradiation, and reirradiation dose. A nomogram to predict the probability of death within 24 months after reirradiationwas developed (concordance index = 0.75).

Conclusion:: Comorbidity and pre-existing organ dysfunction are among several important prognostic factors for patients undergoing reirradiation. For those with both comorbidity and organ dysfunction, reirradiation largely serves as a palliative therapy.