Concomitant boost radiotherapy in oropharynx carcinomas

Acta Oncol. 1998;37(7-8):687-91. doi: 10.1080/028418698430052.


Fifty-five patients with resectable and unresectable oropharynx carcinomas were treated with concomitant boost radiotherapy. Forty-two of the patients (76%) had stages III-IV disease. Although none of the patients had undergone major surgery to the primary tumor, 11 had neck dissections prior to radiotherapy, and 19 (35%) received chemotherapy. The planned total tumor dose was 69.9 Gy, delivered over 5.5 weeks. During the last 3.5 weeks, a boost to the initial gross disease was delivered in 13 fractions of 1.5 Gy each, as a second daily fraction in a progressively accelerated schedule; the prescribed dose outside the boost volume thus was 50.4 Gy. Median follow-up for surviving patients was 31.5 months (range: 16-65 months). All patients but one completed the planned radiotherapy schedule. According to the RTOG scoring system, 48 patients (88%) presented with grades 3-4 acute toxicity. The rate of grades 3-4 late complications was 12%. At three years the actuarial locoregional control rate was 69.5% and overall survival was 60%. We conclude that this concomitant boost schedule is feasible and does not seem to be associated with an excess risk of late complications. Acute toxicity was higher in association with chemotherapy, but remained manageable. Although the oncological results appear encouraging, evaluation of the efficacy of concomitant boost schedules compared with conventionally fractionated irradiation with or without concomitant chemotherapy requires prospective randomized trials.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil