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Am J Clin Oncol. 1993 Oct;16(5):389-96.

"Compensated" split-course versus continuous radiation therapy of carcinoma of the tonsillar fossa. Final results of a prospective randomized clinical trial of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.

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Radiation Oncology Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918.


The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group conducted a prospective comparison of a compensated split course radiotherapy technique (300 cGy x 10, 3 weeks rest, 300 cGy x 10), versus continuous radiotherapy (200-220 cGy up to 6000-6600 cGy), in 137 evaluable patients. The complete response (CR) was 57% in 63 patients, treated with the split-technique vs 61% in 74 patients submitted to continuous course radiotherapy. The completion of therapy as planned was better in the split-technique, but acute and late tissue reactions were the same. Locoregional control of tumor at 5 years was 25% for split and 28% for continuous therapy. At 7 years this was 25% and 24%, respectively. Absolute survival in the split-course patients tended to be lower than in the continuous group, but when the sample of patients was enlarged by the addition of cases from similar trials of nasopharynx and base of tongue lesions, the survival difference was eliminated. On the basis of the results of this study we conclude that the stated compensated split-course technique gives equal clinical results as conventional continuous therapy, with the advantage of requiring fewer radiation fractions, and less burden on the patient and therapy facilities.

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