0-7-21 hypofractionated palliative radiotherapy: an effective treatment for advanced head and neck cancers
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OBJECTIVE: We report our experience in providing palliative radiotherapy (RT) to patients with head and neck cancers (HNCs). Our hypofractionated regimen, "0-7-21", treats patients with 24 Gy in three fractions. METHODS: Patients, disease and response data were retrieved for candidates of 0-7-21 from 2005 to 2012. Primary end points included symptom and tumour size responses to RT based on response evaluation criteria in solid tumours (RECIST) guidelines. Secondary end points included progression-free survival (PFS) within the irradiated field, overall survival (OS) and symptomatic PFS (SPFS), calculated using Kaplan-Meier method and adverse events. Cox proportional hazards regression and logistic regression were used to investigate for prognostic factors. RESULTS: A total of 110 patients were included. Among the patients, 40% and 31% had complete response for symptoms and tumour size, respectively; 42% and 50% had partial response for symptoms and tumour size, respectively; and 15% had stability of symptoms and tumour size. Median 6-month OS was 51%, and PFS within the irradiated field was 39%. Planning target volume was predictive of OS (p < 0.001), PFS (p < 0.001) and SPFS (p < 0.005), while higher TNM stage was associated with poorer tumour response (p = 0.02). CONCLUSION: 0-7-21 is an effective and well-tolerated palliative RT regimen for patients with HNC. There was excellent symptom and local control with acceptable toxicity profile in these patients. ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: This is the first study to describe the outcomes of 0-7-21 in treating advanced HNCs. The positive results suggest that 0-7-21 provides excellent palliation with minimal toxicity, with significantly less on-treatment time than current published palliative RT regimen.
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