Adjuvant Reirradiation With Proton Therapy in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Kristin Hsieh, Alexandra Elena Hotca, Daniel R. Dickstein, Eric J. Lehrer, Celina Hsieh, Vishal Gupta, Kunal K. Sindhu, Jerry T. Liu, Samuel H. Reed, Arpit Chhabra, Krzysztof Misiukiewicz, Scott Roof, Mohemmed Nazir Kahn, Diana Kirke, Mark Urken, Marshall Posner, Eric Genden, Richard L. Bakst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: For patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), locoregional failure and second primary tumors are common indications for adjuvant reirradiation (re-RT). Given an absence of clear consensus on the role of adjuvant re-RT, we sought to assess histopathologic risk factors of patients with HNSCC and their resulting outcomes after adjuvant re-RT with proton therapy. Methods and Materials: We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients with HNSCC who underwent salvage surgery at our institution followed by adjuvant re-RT with proton therapy over 1.5 years. All included patients received prior radiation therapy. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to evaluate locoregional recurrence-free survival and overall survival. Results: The cohort included 22 patients, with disease subsites, including oropharynx, oral cavity, hypopharynx, larynx, and nasopharynx. Depending on adverse pathologic features, adjuvant re-RT to 66 Gy (32% of cohort) or 60 Gy (68%), with (59%) or without (41%) concurrent systemic therapy was administered. The majority (86%) completed re-RT with no reported treatment delay; 3 patients experienced grade ≥3 acute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events toxicity and no patient required enteral feeding tube placement during re-RT. Median follow-up was 21.0 months (IQR, 11.7-25.2 months). Five patients had biopsy-proven disease recurrences a median of 5.9 months (IQR, 3.8-9.7 months) after re-RT. Locoregional recurrence-free survival was 95.2%, 70.2%, 64.8% at 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively. OS was 100%, 79.2%, and 79.2% at 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively. Four patients had osteoradionecrosis on imaging a median of 13.2 months (IQR, 8.7-17.4 months) after re-RT, with 2 requiring surgical intervention. Conclusions: Adjuvant re-RT for patients with HNSCC was well-tolerated and offered reasonable local control in this high-risk cohort but appears to be associated with a risk of osteoradionecrosis. Additional study and longer follow-up could help define optimal patient management in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101418
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024


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