Advances in radiotherapy for head and neck cancer

Oral Oncol. 2010 Jun;46(6):439-41. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2010.03.005. Epub 2010 Apr 20.


Radiotherapy and surgery are the principal curative modalities in treatment of head and neck cancer. Conventional (two dimensional, 2D and three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, 3DCRT) result in significant side-effects and altered quality of life. Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) can spare the normal tissues, while delivering a curative dose to the tumour bearing tissues. Technical advances like volumetric intensity modulated arc therapy (VMAT) have helped optimise IMRT further. Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) can be used to aid target delineation and also help reduce the PTV margins to further enhance the therapeutic ratio. Particle therapy using protons provides significant advantage in terms of normal tissue sparing and is recommended for small cranial tumours and in radiotherapy for paediatric patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / trends
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / trends*