Send to

Choose Destination
South Asian J Cancer. 2019 Apr-Jun;8(2):120-123. doi: 10.4103/sajc.sajc_264_17.

Burden of acute toxicities in head-and-neck radiation therapy: A single-institutional experience.

Author information

Department of Radiation Oncology, St. John's Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.



Combined modality therapy is the standard of care in locally advanced head-and-neck cancer (HNC). The incidence of acute toxicities increases with additional therapy. The present study investigated the incidence and patterns of mucositis, dysphagia, aspiration, feeding tube use, admission for supportive care, and treatment compliance in patients with HNC treated curatively with radiation therapy (RT) with or without chemotherapy.

Methods and Material:

A retrospective review of 164 consecutive HNC patients treated with RT at St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bengaluru, from January 2013 to June 2017 was done.


A total of 148 HNC patients were treated with a curative intent and 122 (82.4%) were locally advanced HNC. Combined Modality treatment was received by 119 (80.4%) patients. Eighty-four (56.7%) patients were treated by concurrent chemo-radiation. IMRT technique was used in 125 (84.5%) patients. The incidence of grade 3-4 mucositis, dysphagia and aspiration was 25%, 46%, and 10%, respectively. Nasogastric tube feeding was necessitated in 18.9% (n=28) and 27% (n = 40) required inpatient admission for supportive care. Twenty-nine (19.6%) patients did not complete planned RT dose and 46 (31%) patients had unscheduled RT break (>2days). Fifty-six (66.7%) patients did not receive planned chemotherapy.


Acute toxicity due to RT in HNC remains a challenge despite using modern techniques. A significant proportion of patients require supportive therapy for more than 12 weeks and did not complete the scheduled treatment.


Acute toxicity; dysphagia; head-and-neck cancer; mucositis; radiation therapy

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Medknow Publications and Media Pvt Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center