BACKGROUND/AIM: Patients with unresectable head-and-neck cancer (SCCHN) unable to tolerate radiochemotherapy may receive unconventionally fractionated radiotherapy. This retrospective study compared both treatments.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eight patients unsuitable for chemotherapy were assigned to accelerated fractionation with concomitant boost (AF-CB, 69.6 Gy/39 fractions) over 5.5 weeks (group A) and 72 patients to cisplatin-based radiochemotherapy (70 Gy/35 fractions) over 7 weeks (group B). Groups were matched (cancer site, gender, age, performance score, T-/N-stage, histologic grade) and compared for loco-regional control (LRC), metastases-free survival (MFS), overall survival (OS) and toxicities.
RESULTS: LRC, MFS, OS and radiation-related toxicities were not significantly different between groups A and B. Improved outcomes were associated with favorable cancer site, better performance score and T3-stage. In group B, toxicity led to reduction/discontinuation of chemotherapy in 38.9% and interruptions of radiotherapy >7 days in 19.3% of patients.
CONCLUSION: AF-CB appeared a reasonable alternative for patients who cannot safely receive radio-chemotherapy for unresectable SCCHN.