Dose to the Larynx Predicts for Swallowing Complications Following IMRT and Chemotherapy

Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 5, 2007

Scientific Session: Dose to the Larynx Predicts for Swallowing Complications Following IMRT and Chemotherapy

The combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy has improved survival for people with head and neck cancers, but this has led to an increase in toxicity. Two concerning side effect are aspiration (breathing food or drink into the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia) and the development of strictures (narrowing of the esophagus or food pipe, which can make eating difficult). These can lead to the need for a feeding tube to prevent pneumonias and maintain weight. This study looked at swallowing function after chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The study included 96 patients with a variety of head and neck cancers, treated with IMRT and chemotherapy. All patients had their swallowing function evaluated after treatment. 31 patients had aspiration and 36 patients developed stricture. There was no association seen between chemotherapy or area of disease and the complications. Prior tobacco use, however, was significantly associated with these toxicities.

Researchers discovered that limiting the radiation dose to the larynx (voice box) did decrease the risk. IMRT allows the physician better control over the dose of radiation to certain areas, and may improve the risk of these toxicities by decreasing dose to the larynx.

Partially funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb.


7 Tips for Giving Smart on #givingtuesday
by Christina Bach, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
November 25, 2015

Related News

Treatment Regimens Equally Effective for Larynx Cancer

Nov 29, 2015

Chemotherapy and radiation regimens give similar survival and larynx preservation

ASTRO: Hypofractionated IMRT Practical Approach in Prostate CA

Sep 30, 2011

Hypofractionated intensity modulated radiation as effective as conventional IMRT at five years

Fewer Complications With IMRT for Prostate Cancer

Apr 18, 2012

Fewer gastro morbidities, hip fractures, but more erectile dysfunction versus conformal radiation