Purpose: Prevention of damage to critical normal tissues is of paramount importance for the quality of life of patients irradiated for cancers in the head and neck. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the parotid gland sparing 3D conformal radiation therapy technique (3DCRT) in a prospective study in node negative cancer of the larynx. Materials and methods: Twenty-six patients with node negative squamous cell cancer of the larynx were irradiated by a 3DCRT technique (class solution) to both sides of the neck (elective dose 46 Gy to levels II, III and IV) and primary tumour (70 Gy). Dose distributions of the major salivary glands were correlated with objective (stimulated whole saliva flow, WS) and subjective (questionnaire; visual analogue scale, VAS) salivary gland function. Apart from the clinically used 3DCRT technique, in order to optimise 3DCRT dose distributions, intensity modulated (IMRT) treatment plans were generated for the same patient population. Dose-volume histograms of 3DCRT and IMRT treatment plans were analysed and compared. Results: For the 26 patients irradiated with the 3DCRT class solution technique: VAS scores and questionnaires reached their nadir 3 months post-radiotherapy; WS reached its nadir 6 months post-radiotherapy. WS flow rates improved significantly, but never normalised; 2 years post-treatment WS measurements were 48% of the pre-treatment values. VAS scores deteriorated during ERT from 0 pre-treatment to 6.1 immediately post-treatment. Compared to pre-treatment, questionnaires were answered affirmative by increasing numbers of patients. For all patients, IMRT treatment plans resulted in a significant reduction of the dose delivered to the parotid glands compared to the 3DCRT-treatment technique. Conclusions: The class solution for the 3DCRT salivary gland sparing technique is inadequate for fully preserving salivary gland function, given the dose distributions (DVHs) as well as the subjective- and objective salivary gland function assessments. The results can be optimised in the future, that is a further reduction of xerostomia can be achieved, by using IMRT techniques focused at sparing major and minor salivary glands.

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doi.org/10.1016/S0167-8140(03)00038-0, hdl.handle.net/1765/70919
Radiotherapy & Oncology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Braaksma, M. M., Wijers, O., Van Sörnsen De Koste, J., van der Est, H., Schmitz, P., Nowak, P., & Levendag, P. (2003). Optimisation of conformal radiation therapy by intensity modulation: Cancer of the larynx and salivary gland function. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 66(3), 291–302. doi:10.1016/S0167-8140(03)00038-0