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Anticancer Res. 2007 Jul-Aug;27(4A):1953-6.

Influence of amifostine on late radiation-toxicity in head and neck cancer--a follow-up study.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Südharzkrankenhaus Nordhausen, Nordhausen, Germany.



The late toxicities due to multimodal therapy of advanced head and neck cancers were analysed. The impact of cytoprotection with amifostine is the specific objective of this report.


A total of 851 patients (717 men, 134 women) with head and neck cancer were included in this prospective study. Of these patients, 519/851 had received amifostine before radio(chemo)therapy, while 332 control patients had not received any kind of cytoprotection before irradiation. Primary radiochemotherapy was performed in 282 patients and adjuvant radiation was administered in 569. The follow-up examination was carried out at our outpatient department 21.4 months (median, range 2.3 to 149 months) after the primary therapy.


Late xerostomia was seen in 765/851 patients (89.9%). Altered taste was reported by 284/851 (33.5%). These symptoms were reduced significantly by amifostine. No influence was seen on interstitial lymph edema (48.4%), or stenosis of the cervical esophagus (20.4%). Secondary symptoms such as dysphagia (78.8%) also had a trend for reduction.


The administration of amifostine offers an opportunity to reduce selected long-term toxicities for survivors of head and neck cancer.

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