There are two main enteral feeding strategies-namely nasogastric (NG) tube feeding and percutaneous gastrostomy-used to improve the nutritional status of patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). But up till now there has been no consistent evidence about which method of enteral feeding is the optimal method for this patient group. To compare the effectiveness of percutaneous gastrostomy and NGT feeding in patients with HNC, relevant literature was identified through Medline, Embase, Pubmed, Cochrane, Wiley and manual searches. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-experimental studies comparing percutaneous gastrostomy-including percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) and percutaneous fluoroscopic gastrostomy (PFG) -with NG for HNC patients. Data extraction recorded characteristics of intervention, type of study and factors that contributed to the methodological quality of the individual studies. Data were then compared with respect to nutritional status, duration of feeding, complications, radiotherapy delays, disease-free survival and overall survival. Methodological quality of RCTs and non-experimental studies were assessed with separate standard grading scales. It became apparent from our studies that both feeding strategies have advantages and disadvantages.
Keywords: enteral nutrition; gastrostomy; head and neck neoplasms; nasogastric tubes; percutaneous gastrostomy.