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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1989 Mar;16(3):831-43.

Dose fractionation and regeneration in radiotherapy for cancer of the oral cavity and oropharynx: tumor dose-response and repopulation.

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1
Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Public Health, UCLA Center for Health Sciences 90024.

Abstract

In a retrospective study, local control of the primary tumor in 498 squamous cell carcinomas of the oral cavity and oropharynx was analyzed with respect to initial tumor volume, total dose after normalization for variations in fraction size, and to overall treatment time. Primary tumors were grouped into 4 sites, tongue (175), oral cavity including floor of mouth, faucial pillar, soft and hard palate and gingiva (210), tonsil (72) and buccal mucosa (41). Total doses of 60Co irradiation ranged from 30 Gy to 72 Gy, overall treatment times from 15 to 80 days and dose per fraction from 1.8 to 6 Gy. The large number of patients and diversity of dose fractionation patterns permitted assessment of the independent contributions to treatment outcome of stage, fraction size and overall treatment duration. The following conclusions were drawn: (1) Overall treatment time influenced strongly the probability of local tumor control. Over the interval of about 30-55 days used in treating most of this series of patients, an increase of 60 cGy per day, on average, was required for a constant control rate. (2) The increase in dose was attributed to accelerated tumor clonogen growth rate. Such accelerated growth could be a major determinant of failure in protracted regimens. (3) The accelerated rate of regrowth was similar for all tumor sites and stages. (4) The dose for tumor control was relatively independent of variations in fraction size within a range of about 1.6 Gy to 3 Gy: the alpha/beta value in the linear quadratic isoeffect equation was at least 15 Gy. (5) Local control at the primary site required an average of about 3 Gy more for each increase in T stage. This increase most likely reflected an increased number of tumor clonogens, not a decreased tumor cell radiosensitivity. (6) The probability of control at the primary site was less likely if lymph nodes were positive, but this association was only shown to be statistically significant for primaries classified here as oral cavity and oropharynx, not tonsil, tongue or buccal mucosa. (7) After allowing for differences in treatment parameters, especially for heterogeneity in overall treatment times, tumor control probability increased steeply with increase in total dose. (8) A general principle of radiotherapy, at least for squamous carcinomas of head and neck, should be to deliver the desired fractionated dose regimen without unnecessary interruptions and in the shortest time compatible with no reduction in dose below that tolerated by the late-responding normal tissues.

PMID:
2921175
DOI:
10.1016/0360-3016(89)90503-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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