Twice-Daily Radiation Therapy Reduces Cancer Mortality
By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 10 Feb 2017
Image: A new study shows hyperfractionated radiotherapy with concomitant chemotherapy provides best results for some cancers (Photo courtesy of NCI).
Splitting daily radiation therapy (RT) treatment into two portions allows more effective treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Gustave Roussy cancer center, Aarhus University Hospital, and other institutions conducted a literature review based on a relatively new technique called network meta-analysis in order to bring together data from 117 different trials that included 28,804 patients from around the world. The data compilation allowed the researchers to compare 16 different treatment strategies in order to find out which was best at reducing cancer spread and mortality.
The results showed that hyper-fractionated RT, when combined with chemotherapy, cut mortality rates by 20% when compared to the current best standard of treatment, administration of daily RT combined with chemotherapy. In fact, hyperfractionated radiotherapy with concomitant chemotherapy was ranked as the best treatment in all analyses. Hyper-fractionated RT also reduced the risk of the cancer getting worse by 23%. The study was presented at the European Cancer Organization (ECCO) annual congress, held during January 2017 in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).
“There are a number of new treatments that have shown promise in head and neck cancer trials. This large study has enabled us to compare several of these treatments to see which is the best overall in terms of reducing mortality,” concluded lead author and study presenter radiation oncology resident Claire Petit, MD, of Gustave Roussy. “Some of the studies we looked at did not include data on side effects; others did not follow patients long enough to pick up long-term side effects. This will be the focus of more research over the next year.”
Most cancers of the head, mouth, nasal cavity, nasopharynx, throat, and associated structures histologically belong to the squamous cell type, and are the 6th most common cancers worldwide and 3rd most common cancers in developing world, accounting for about 5% of all malignancies worldwide. Risk factors include tobacco consumption (chewing or smoking), alcohol consumption, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, betel nut chewing, wood dust exposures, consumption of certain slated fish, and others.