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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Feb 1;67(2):438-44. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

Disease-control rates following intensity-modulated radiation therapy for small primary oropharyngeal carcinoma.

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Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



The purpose of this study was to assess the ability of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to achieve favorable disease-control rates while minimizing parotid gland doses in patients treated for small primary tumors of the oropharynx.


We retrospectively identified all patients who received IMRT as treatment for a small (<4 cm) primary tumor of the oropharynx between October 2000 and June 2002. Tumor characteristics, IMRT parameters, and patient outcomes were assessed.


Fifty-one patients met the criteria for our study. All patients had treatment to gross disease with margin (CTV1), and all but 1 had treatment to the bilateral necks. The most common treatment schedule (39 patients) was a once-daily fractionation of prescribed doses of 63-66 Gy to the CTV1 and 54 Gy to subclinical sites, delivered in 30 fractions. Twenty-one patients (40%) had gastrostomy tubes placed during therapy; in 4 patients, the tube remained in place for more than 6 months after completion of IMRT. The median follow-up was 45 months. The 2-year actuarial locoregional control, recurrence-free, and overall survival rates were 94%, 88%, and 94%, respectively.


These preliminary data suggest that treatment with IMRT results in favorable locoregional control of small primary oropharynx tumors. IMRT did not appear to have a more favorable acute toxicity profile in this group with respect to the use of a feeding tube; however, the mean dose of radiation delivered to the parotid gland by IMRT was decreased, because 95% of patients had a mean dose of <30 Gy to at least one gland.

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