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J Cancer Res Ther. 2019 Jul-Sep;15(3):528-532. doi: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_116_18.

Role of hypofractionated palliative radiotherapy in patients with stage four head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma.

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Department of Radiotherapy, Sarojini Naidu Medical College, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.



Large number of patients with head-and-neck cancer presents with factors such as advanced disease, poor general condition, and associated comorbidities due to which radical treatment is not recommended in these patients. In this scenario, the aim of the present study is to assess the role and feasibility of hypofractionated palliative radiotherapy in these patients.

Subjects and Methods:

This study was conducted on patients with histopathologically proven cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the head-and-neck region who were surgically unresectable. The quality of life (QOL) was assessed before and after 1 month of radiotherapy using University of Washington Quality of Life questionnaire version 4. All patients received 40 Gy in 10 fractions, twice weekly by two lateral fields covering primary and secondary disease. Response evaluation criteria in solid tumor criteria were used to assess the tumor response. Toxicity was assessed weekly using radiation therapy oncology group criteria.


A total of 50 patients were enrolled in this study, out of which 46 completed the planned treatment of 40 Gy in 10 fractions. Common complaints were distressing pain at the primary site (42%), neck swelling (30%), difficult in swallowing (18%), and change in voice (10%). Statistically significant improvements were observed in overall QOL (26.9 ± 9.63 to 55.65 ± 19.28) and none of them experienced Grade IV mucositis or skin toxicity. Good objective response was seen in 82.6% and 84.7% of patients at primary and nodal sites, respectively.


This hypofractionated palliative radiotherapy regimen is a good treatment option in patients with Stage IV head-and-neck cancer, who are not fit for treatment with curative intent.


Head and neck cancer; hypofractionated radiotherapy; pain control; palliative radiotherapy

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