Pre-treatment psychoeducational intervention and outcomes in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy

Support Care Cancer. 2020 Aug 6. doi: 10.1007/s00520-020-05627-2. Online ahead of print.


Background: To investigate the relationship between attendance to a pre-treatment psychoeducational intervention (prehab) with treatment outcomes and toxicities in patients receiving radiotherapy for head and neck cancers (HNCs).

Methods: Patients were included from prehab inception in 2013 to 2017, comparing overall survival (OS), locoregional recurrence-free survival (LRFS), and locoregional recurrence (LRR) between prehab attendees (PA) and non-attendees (PNA). Multivariable analysis was performed for OS and LRFS.

Results: Among 864 PA and 1128 PNA, 2-year OS was 88% vs 80% (p < 0.001), and LRFS was 84% vs 75% (p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis (MVA), OS and LRFS were independently and unfavourably associated with PNA. The PA cohort had a lower frequency of a "rocky treatment course" compared with the PNA cohort (52/150, 35% vs 71/150, 47%; p = 0.034).

Conclusions: Prehab at our institution is associated with improved long-term oncologic outcomes. Prospective data is needed to better understand this association.

Keywords: Head and neck cancers; Quality of life; Radiotherapy; Supportive care; Survivorship.