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Oral Oncol. 2009 Nov;45(11):953-7. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2009.06.005. Epub 2009 Aug 8.

Long-term quality of life after treatment for locally advanced oropharyngeal carcinoma: surgery and postoperative radiotherapy versus concurrent chemoradiation.

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Department of Medical and Surgical Specialities, Otolaryngology Clinic-Regional Center for Head and Neck Cancer, University of Padua, School of Medicine, Treviso Regional Hospital, Italy.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term quality of life (QoL) in survivors with oropharyngeal carcinoma (OC) treated with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) versus concurrent chemoradiation (CRT) using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL Questionnaires. The study group consisted of 57 patients. The scores for physical (P=0.043) and social (P=0.036) functioning were significantly more favorable in the chemoradiation group. Surgical patients showed statistically higher problems with fatigue (P=0.047), pain (P=0.027), swallowing (P=0.042), social eating (P=0.038) and social contact (P=0.002). CRT group reported significantly greater problems with teeth (P=0.049), open mouth (P=0.036), dry mouth (P=0.022) and sticky saliva (P=0.044). The global QoL score was higher in CRT group (P=0.027). These results support an organ preservation approach with CRT in patients with advanced OC. However, considering the absence of randomized trial comparing outcomes after surgical versus nonsurgical approaches, severe xerostomia following CRT, the higher postoperative morbidity in the setting of salvage surgery, future prospective clinical trials on greater samples of patients are needed to confirm our conclusions.

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