Radiotherapy treatment: Head and neck cancer could benefit from second round

13th June 2011

Patients suffering some forms of head and neck cancer may benefit from a second round of radiotherapy treatment, new research has found.

Scientists have discovered that there are certain predictors which can identify patients who may benefit from a second round of treatment which is potentially toxic but has a real chance of providing a cure for sufferers.

Joseph Salama and his colleagues looked into how well patients would tolerate this second course of treatment to discover which would respond the most.

By analysing data from patients who had received a first round of radiotherapy followed by a second with chemotherapy they found that 25 per cent of patients could be cured when their cancer recurred at two years. The best results were seen in those who had been cancer-free for a long period of time, did not have chemotherapy with their first course of treatment and received a higher dose of radiation, among other things.

Dr Salama said: "These can help doctors determine which patients are best suited for a second course of radiation with chemotherapy for head and neck cancer."

Macmillan Cancer Support states there are 30 different types of cancer in the head and neck.


Posted by Jeanette Royston

1. Choe, Kevin S et al. " Prior chemoradiotherapy adversely impacts outcomes of recurrent and second primary head-and-neck cancer treated with concurrent chemo-reirradiation." Cancer. 13thJune 2011.

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