Can intensity-modulated radiotherapy preserve oral health-related quality of life of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients?

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jun 1;83(2):e213-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.12.040. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


Purpose: To investigate the changes in salivary function and oral health-related quality of life for patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated by intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).

Methods and materials: A total of 57 patients with early-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma received IMRT. The parotid and whole saliva flow was measured, and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life questionnaire-C30, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life questionnaire 35-item head-and-neck module, and Oral Health Impact Profile questionnaires were completed at baseline and 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after IMRT.

Results: Parotid saliva flow recovered fully after 1 year and maintained. Whole saliva flow recovered partially to 40% of baseline. A general trend of deterioration in most quality of life scales was observed after IMRT, followed by gradual recovery. Persistent oral-related symptoms were found 2 years after treatment.

Conclusion: IMRT for early-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma could only partially preserve the whole salivary function and oral health-related quality of life.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Oral Health*
  • Parotid Gland / physiopathology
  • Parotid Gland / radiation effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / adverse effects*
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / methods
  • Recovery of Function
  • Salivation / physiology
  • Salivation / radiation effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors