Author(s): Studer G, Studer SP, Zwahlen RA, Huguenin P, Grtz KW,
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Osteoradionecrosis (ON) of the mandible is a serious late complication of high-dose radiation therapy for tumors of the oropharynx and oral cavity. After doses between 60 and 72 Gy using standard fractionation, an incidence of ON between 5\% and 15\% is reported in a review from 1989, whereas in more recent publications using moderately accelerated or hyperfractionated irradiation and doses between 69 and 81 Gy, the incidence of ON is between < 1\% and ~ 6\%. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is expected to translate into a further important reduction of ON. The aim of this descriptive study was to assess absolute and relative bone volumes exposed to high IMRT doses, related to observed bone tolerance. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between December 2001 and November 2004, 73 of 123 patients treated with IMRT were identified as subgroup "at risk" for ON (> 60 Gy for oropharyngeal or oral cavity cancer). 21/73 patients were treated in a postoperative setting, 52 patients underwent primary definitive irradiation. In 56 patients concomitant cisplatin-based chemotherapy was applied. Mean follow-up time was 22 months (12-46 months). Oral cavity including the mandible bone outside the planning target volume was contoured and dose-volume constraints were defined in order to spare bone tissue. Dose-volume histograms were obtained from contoured mandible in each patient and were analyzed and related to clinical mandible bone tolerance. RESULTS: Using IMRT with doses between 60 and 75 Gy (mean 67 Gy), on average 7.8, 4.8, 0.9, and 0.3 cm(3) were exposed to doses > 60, 65, 70, and 75 Gy, respectively. These values are substantially lower than when using three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy. The difference has been approximately quantified by comparison with a historic series. Additional ON risk factors of the patients were also analyzed. Only one grade 3 ON of the lingual horizontal branch, treated with lingual decortication, was observed. CONCLUSION: Using IMRT, only very small partial volumes of the mandibular bone are exposed to high radiation doses. This is expected to translate into a further reduction of ON and improved osseointegration of dental implants.
This article was published in Strahlenther Onkol
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy