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Parotid-sparing intensity modulated versus conventional radiotherapy in head and neck cancer (PARSPORT): a phase 3 multicentre randomised controlled trial

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      Summary

      Background

      Xerostomia is the most common late side-effect of radiotherapy to the head and neck. Compared with conventional radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) can reduce irradiation of the parotid glands. We assessed the hypothesis that parotid-sparing IMRT reduces the incidence of severe xerostomia.

      Methods

      We undertook a randomised controlled trial between Jan 21, 2003, and Dec 7, 2007, that compared conventional radiotherapy (control) with parotid-sparing IMRT. We randomly assigned patients with histologically confirmed pharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma (T1–4, N0–3, M0) at six UK radiotherapy centres between the two radiotherapy techniques (1:1 ratio). A dose of 60 or 65 Gy was prescribed in 30 daily fractions given Monday to Friday. Treatment was not masked. Randomisation was by computer-generated permuted blocks and was stratified by centre and tumour site. Our primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with grade 2 or worse xerostomia at 12 months, as assessed by the Late Effects of Normal Tissue (LENT SOMA) scale. Analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis, with all patients who had assessments included. Long-term follow-up of patients is ongoing. This study is registered with the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial register, number ISRCTN48243537.

      Findings

      47 patients were assigned to each treatment arm. Median follow-up was 44·0 months (IQR 30·0–59·7). Six patients from each group died before 12 months and seven patients from the conventional radiotherapy and two from the IMRT group were not assessed at 12 months. At 12 months xerostomia side-effects were reported in 73 of 82 alive patients; grade 2 or worse xerostomia at 12 months was significantly lower in the IMRT group than in the conventional radiotherapy group (25 [74%; 95% CI 56–87] of 34 patients given conventional radiotherapy vs 15 [38%; 23–55] of 39 given IMRT, p=0·0027). The only recorded acute adverse event of grade 2 or worse that differed significantly between the treatment groups was fatigue, which was more prevalent in the IMRT group (18 [41%; 99% CI 23–61] of 44 patients given conventional radiotherapy vs 35 [74%; 55–89] of 47 given IMRT, p=0·0015). At 24 months, grade 2 or worse xerostomia was significantly less common with IMRT than with conventional radiotherapy (20 [83%; 95% CI 63–95] of 24 patients given conventional radiotherapy vs nine [29%; 14–48] of 31 given IMRT; p<0·0001). At 12 and 24 months, significant benefits were seen in recovery of saliva secretion with IMRT compared with conventional radiotherapy, as were clinically significant improvements in dry-mouth-specific and global quality of life scores. At 24 months, no significant differences were seen between randomised groups in non-xerostomia late toxicities, locoregional control, or overall survival.

      Interpretation

      Sparing the parotid glands with IMRT significantly reduces the incidence of xerostomia and leads to recovery of saliva secretion and improvements in associated quality of life, and thus strongly supports a role for IMRT in squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

      Funding

      Cancer Research UK (CRUK/03/005).

      Related collections

      Most cited references 39

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      New guidelines to evaluate the response to treatment in solid tumors. European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, National Cancer Institute of the United States, National Cancer Institute of Canada.

      Anticancer cytotoxic agents go through a process by which their antitumor activity-on the basis of the amount of tumor shrinkage they could generate-has been investigated. In the late 1970s, the International Union Against Cancer and the World Health Organization introduced specific criteria for the codification of tumor response evaluation. In 1994, several organizations involved in clinical research combined forces to tackle the review of these criteria on the basis of the experience and knowledge acquired since then. After several years of intensive discussions, a new set of guidelines is ready that will supersede the former criteria. In parallel to this initiative, one of the participating groups developed a model by which response rates could be derived from unidimensional measurement of tumor lesions instead of the usual bidimensional approach. This new concept has been largely validated by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors Group and integrated into the present guidelines. This special article also provides some philosophic background to clarify the various purposes of response evaluation. It proposes a model by which a combined assessment of all existing lesions, characterized by target lesions (to be measured) and nontarget lesions, is used to extrapolate an overall response to treatment. Methods of assessing tumor lesions are better codified, briefly within the guidelines and in more detail in Appendix I. All other aspects of response evaluation have been discussed, reviewed, and amended whenever appropriate.
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        The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30: a quality-of-life instrument for use in international clinical trials in oncology.

        In 1986, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) initiated a research program to develop an integrated, modular approach for evaluating the quality of life of patients participating in international clinical trials. We report here the results of an international field study of the practicality, reliability, and validity of the EORTC QLQ-C30, the current core questionnaire. The QLQ-C30 incorporates nine multi-item scales: five functional scales (physical, role, cognitive, emotional, and social); three symptom scales (fatigue, pain, and nausea and vomiting); and a global health and quality-of-life scale. Several single-item symptom measures are also included. The questionnaire was administered before treatment and once during treatment to 305 patients with nonresectable lung cancer from centers in 13 countries. Clinical variables assessed included disease stage, weight loss, performance status, and treatment toxicity. The average time required to complete the questionnaire was approximately 11 minutes, and most patients required no assistance. The data supported the hypothesized scale structure of the questionnaire with the exception of role functioning (work and household activities), which was also the only multi-item scale that failed to meet the minimal standards for reliability (Cronbach's alpha coefficient > or = .70) either before or during treatment. Validity was shown by three findings. First, while all interscale correlations were statistically significant, the correlation was moderate, indicating that the scales were assessing distinct components of the quality-of-life construct. Second, most of the functional and symptom measures discriminated clearly between patients differing in clinical status as defined by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status scale, weight loss, and treatment toxicity. Third, there were statistically significant changes, in the expected direction, in physical and role functioning, global quality of life, fatigue, and nausea and vomiting, for patients whose performance status had improved or worsened during treatment. The reliability and validity of the questionnaire were highly consistent across the three language-cultural groups studied: patients from English-speaking countries, Northern Europe, and Southern Europe. These results support the EORTC QLQ-C30 as a reliable and valid measure of the quality of life of cancer patients in multicultural clinical research settings. Work is ongoing to examine the performance of the questionnaire among more heterogenous patient samples and in phase II and phase III clinical trials.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [a ]Head and Neck Unit, Royal Marsden Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
            [b ]Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit, The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK
            [c ]Department of Oncology, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
            [d ]Department of Medical Physics, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guildford, UK
            [e ]National Radiotherapy Trials QA Group, Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, UK
            [f ]Cancer Centre, University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, Stoke on Trent, UK
            [g ]Oncology Centre, Addenbrooke's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
            [h ]Department of Clinical Oncology, The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, Ipswich, UK
            [i ]Department of Radiotherapy, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
            Author notes
            [* ]Correspondence to: Dr Christopher M Nutting, ICR-CTSU, Section of Clinical Trials, The Institute of Cancer Research, 15 Cotswold Road, Sutton, SM2 5NG, UK chris.nutting@ 123456rmh.nhs.uk
            [†]

            Details given in the webappendix (p 2)

            Contributors
            Journal
            Lancet Oncol
            Lancet Oncol
            The Lancet Oncology
            Lancet Pub. Group
            1470-2045
            1474-5488
            February 2011
            February 2011
            : 12
            : 2
            : 127-136
            3033533 21236730 LANONC70290 10.1016/S1470-2045(10)70290-4
            © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

            This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

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            Oncology & Radiotherapy

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