Factors associated with pharyngoesophageal stricture in patients treated with concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Head Neck. 2011 Dec;33(12):1727-34. doi: 10.1002/hed.21657. Epub 2011 Jan 18.


Background: The purpose of this study was to elucidate factors associated with pharyngoesophageal strictures after treatment for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of patients receiving cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil chemotherapy combined with concurrent hyperfractionated radiation therapy for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

Results: Strictures developed in 13 of 67 patients (19%). Strictures were associated with tumor location (tonsil vs base of tongue; p = .03), neck dissection after completion of therapy (p = .03), and the duration of treatment-induced mucositis (weeks with mucositis grade ≥2; National Cancer Institute (NCI) Common Toxicity Criteria; p < .001). Age, sex, race, tumor stage, nodal stage, American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage, human papillomavirus (HPV) status, smoking, radiation dose, maximum severity of mucositis, amifostine use, and pretreatment swallow dysfunction were not significantly associated with stricture. In multivariate analysis, only duration of mucositis, after controlling for age, sex, and tumor location, remained highly significant (p < .01).

Conclusion: The duration of treatment-related mucositis is an independent risk factor for stricture formation in patients with oropharyngeal SCC treated with concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Esophageal Stenosis / etiology*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / etiology*
  • Radiation Injuries*
  • Stomatitis / etiology


  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil