Background: Despite significant improvements in the treatment of head and neck cancer (HNC), lymph node recurrences remain a clinical challenge after primary radiotherapy. The value of interstitial (IRT) brachytherapy (BRT) for control of lymph node recurrence remains unclear. In order to clarify its role a retrospective review was undertaken on the value of computed tomography (CT)-guided IRT high-dose-rate (HDR)-BRT in isolated recurrent disease from HNC.
Patients and methods: From 2000 to 2007, 74 patients were treated for inoperable recurrent cervical lymphadenopathy. All patients had previously been treated with radical radiotherapy or chemoradiation with or without surgery. The HDR-BRT delivered a median salvage dose of 30.0 Gy (range, 12.0-36.0 Gy) in twice-daily fractions of 2.0-5.0 Gy in 71 patients and of 30.0 Gy (range, 10.0-36.0 Gy) in once-daily fractions of 6.0-10.0 Gy in three patients.
Results: The overall and disease-free survival rates at one, two and three years were 42%, 19%, 6%, and 42%, 37% and 19%, respectively. The local control probability at one, two and three years was 67% at all three time points. Grade III-IV complications occurred in 13% of patients.
Conclusions: In patients with inoperable recurrent neck disease from HNC, hypofractionated accelerated CT-guided IRT-HDR-BRT can play an important role in providing palliation and tumor control.
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