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J Korean Soc Ther Radiol > Volume 14(2); 1996 > Article
Journal of the Korean Society for Therapeutic Radiology 1996;14(2): 95-104.
Radiation Therapy for Carcinoma of the Oropharynx
JaJe Choel Kim, In Kyu Park
Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Taegu, Korea.
A retrospective analysis for patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma who were treated with radiation was performed to assess the results of treatment and patterns of failure, and to identify the factors that might influence survival. METHODS AND MATERIALS: From March 1985 through June 1993, 53 patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma were treated with either radiation therapy alone or combination of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the Department of Radiation Oncology, Kyungpook National University Hospital. Patients' ages ranged from 31 to 73 years with a median age of 54 years. There were 47 men and 6 women. Forty-two patients (79.2%) had squamous cell carcinoma, 10 patients (18.9%) had undifferentiated carcinoma and 1 patient (1.9%) had adenoid cystic carcinoma. There were 2 patients with stage I 12 patients with stage II, 12 patients with stage III and 27 patients with stage IV. According to the TNM classification, patients were distributed as follows: T1 7, T2 2, T3 10, T4 7, TX 1, and N0 17, N1 13, N2 21, N3 2. The primary tumor sites were tonsillar region in 36 patients (67.9%) base of the tongue in 12 patients (22.6%), and soft palate in 5 patients (9.4%). Twenty-five patients were treated with radiation therapy alone and twenty-eight patients were treated with one to three courses of chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy. Chemotherapeutic regimens used were either CF (cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil) or CVB (cisplatin, vincristine and bleomycin), Radiation therapy was delivered 180-200 cGy daily,five times a week using 6 MV X-ray with or without 8-10 MeV electron beams. A tumor dose ranged from 4500 cGy to 7740 cGy with a median dose of 7100 cGy. The follow-up time ranged from 4months to 99 months with a median of 21 months.
Thrity-seven patients (69.8%) achieved a CR (complete response) and PR (partial response) in 16 patients (30.2%) after radiation therapy. The overall survival rates were 47% at 2 years and 42% at 3 years, respectively. The median survival time was 23 months. Overall stage (p=0.02) and response to radiation therapy (p=0.004) were significant prognostic factors for overall survival. The 2-year disease-free survival rate was 45.5%. T-stage (p=0.03), N-stage (p=0.04) and overall stage (p=0.04) were significant prognostic factors for disease-free survival. Age, sex, histology, primary site of the tumor, radiation dose, combination of chemotherapy were not significantly associated with disease-free survival. Among evaluable 32 patients with CR to radiation therapy, 12 patients were considered to have failed. Among these, 8 patientsfailed locoregionally and 4 patients failed distantly.
T-stage, N-stage and overall stage were significant prognostic factors for disease-free survival in the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer. Since locoregional failure was the predominant pattern of relapse, potential methods to improve locoregional control with radiation therapy should be attempted. More controlled clinical trials should be completed before acceptance of chemotherapy as a part of treatment of oropharyngeal carcinoma.
Key Words: Oropharyngeal carcinoma, Radiation therapy
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