Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy With Concurrent Chemotherapy for Previously Irradiated, Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer

Matthew C. Biagioli, Mark Harvey, Eloy Roman, Luis E. Raez, Aaron H. Wolfson, Subhakar Mutyala, Hyo S. Han, Arnold Markoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose: Primary treatment fails in >70% of locally advanced head and neck cancer patients. Salvage therapy has a 30-40% response rate, but few long-term survivors. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) has recently emerged as a new modality for salvage therapy. This retrospective study evaluated our experience using every-other-week IMRT with concurrent chemotherapy. Methods and Materials: Between 2001 and 2006, 41 patients underwent IMRT as repeat RT with concurrent chemotherapy. All but 6 patients received 60 Gy at 2 Gy/fraction. RT was delivered on an alternating week schedule. Results: With a median follow-up time of 14 months, the overall response rate was 75.6%, with a complete response and partial response rate of 58.5% and 17.1%, respectively. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of overall survival, disease-free survival, and progression-free survival at 24 months was 48.7%, 48.1%, and 38%, respectively. Patients who underwent surgery as a part of their salvage therapy had a mean estimated survival of 30.9 months compared with 22.8 months for patients who received only chemoradiotherapy (p = 0.126). Grade 3 or 4 acute toxicities occurred in 31.7% of patients, but all had resolved within 2 months of therapy completion. No deaths occurred during treatment, except for 1 patient, who died shortly after discontinuing treatment early because of previously undiagnosed metastatic disease; 6 patients had long-term complications. Conclusions: Concurrent chemotherapy with repeat radiotherapy with IMRT given every other week appears to be both well tolerated and feasible in patients treated with previous radiotherapy for recurrent head and neck cancer. IMRT represents a reasonable modality for reducing treatment-related toxicities in a repeat RT setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1073
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 15 2007


  • Chemotherapy
  • IMRT
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Recurrent head and neck cancer
  • Salvage therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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