Purpose: To evaluate feeding tube use.
Materials and methods: Nine hundred thirty-four patients were treated with radiotherapy (RT).
Results: Feeding tubes were placed in 235 patients (25%): 212 patients (22.5%) for acute toxicity, 18 patients (2%) for late effects, and 5 patients (0.5%) for both. Median duration of tube dependence for acute toxicity was 3.8 months. Multivariate analysis revealed that feeding tube placement for acute toxicity was increased with higher RT dose (p <.0001), adjuvant chemotherapy (p =.0002), advanced age (p =.0002), and the presence of neck disease (p =.0045). The risk of a feeding tube for late effects was 2% at 5 years. The likelihood of feeding tube placement for late effects was greater for women (p =.0293), higher RT dose (p =.0345), and primary sites, including the hypopharynx and multiple synchronous primary tumors (p =.0360). Feeding tube placement for late effects was unrelated to tube placement for acute toxicity.
Conclusion: Likelihood of long-term feeding tube dependence was low and unrelated to placement for acute effects.
Copyright 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 25: 741-747, 2003