Background and purpose: To assess the impact of intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) versus conventional radiation on late xerostomia and Quality of Life aspects in head and neck cancer patients. Patients and nethods: Questionnaires on xerostomia in rest and during meals were sent to all patients treated between January 1999 and December 2003 with a T1-4, N0-2 M0 head and neck cancer, with parotid gland sparing IMRT or conventional bilateral neck irradiation to a dose of at least 60 Gy, who were progression free and had no disseminated disease (n = 192). Overall response was 85% (n = 163); 97% in the IMRT group (n = 75) and 77% in the control group (n = 88) the median follow-up was 2.6 years. The prevalence of complaints was compared between the two groups, correcting for all relevant factors at multivariate ordinal regression analysis. Results: Patients treated with IMRT reported significantly less difficulty transporting and swallowing their food and needed less water for a dry mouth during day, night and meals. They also experienced fewer problems with speech and eating in public. Laryngeal cancer patients in general had fewer complaints than oropharynx cancer patients but both groups benefited from IMRT. Within the IMRT group the xerostomia scores were better for those patients with a mean parotid dose to the "spared" parotid below 26 Gy. Conclusion: Parotid gland sparing IMRT for head and neck cancer patients improves xerostomia related quality of life compared to conventional radiation both in rest and during meals. Laryngeal cancer patients had fewer complaints but benefited equally compared to oropharyngeal cancer patients from IMRT.,
Radiation Oncology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Rij, C., Oughlane-Heemsbergen, W. D., Ackerstaff, A. H., Lamers, E. A., Balm, A., & Rasch, C. (2008). Parotid gland sparing IMRT for head and neck cancer improves xerostomia related quality of life. Radiation Oncology, 3(1). doi:10.1186/1748-717X-3-41