Introduction: A short duration, palliative radiotherapy schedule for locally advanced and unresectable head and neck cancer (LAUHNC) was evaluated in terms of palliation of cancer-related symptoms and acute toxicities.
Aims and objectives: The aim of the study was to compare the role and feasibility of hypo-fractionated radiotherapy with concurrent chemotherapy and hypo-fractionated radiotherapy in LAUHNC.
Materials and methods: All the patients included in this study of LAUHNC were not fit for curative treatment. These patients are assessed on the basis of quality of life (QOL), tumour response, toxicities, and relief in symptoms. QOL was assessed on the basis of University of Washington QOL questionnaire version 4 before and after treatment. Patients are divided into two arms, Arm A patients received 40 Gy in ten fractions concurrent cisplatin 50 mg/m2 with weekly and Arm B patients received 40 Gy in ten fractions. To assess the tumour response response evaluation criteria in solid tumours criteria were used.
Results: A total of 40 patients were enrolled in this study, with 20 patents in both arms. Three patients defaulted during treatment and one patient died during treatment. A total of 36 patients completed treatment. Before treatment common complaints was distressing pain in primary site, and difficulty in chewing and swallowing. After treatment there was reduction of pain and improvement in swallowing in both arms. Overall QOL improvement in Arm A (28.89 ± 18.44 to 46.67 ± 15.34) and in Arm B (31.11 ± 15.68 to 43.33 ± 15.72). Neither of the arms experienced grade IV mucositis and skin reaction.
Conclusion: Toxicity in the form of mucositis and dermatitis was higher in the concurrent hypo-fractioned arm compared to the only hypo-fractionated radiotherapy arm during the treatment and in follow up period. The QOL in both individual arms showed statistically significant results, however when the QOL of both the arms was compared, the results were not statistically significant.