Intensity-modulated radiotherapy with planned Gamma Knife radiosurgery boost for head and neck cancer with extensive disease in proximity to critical structures

Head Neck. 2022 Nov;44(11):2571-2578. doi: 10.1002/hed.27176. Epub 2022 Sep 1.


Background: To describe intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with Gamma Knife Radiosurgery (GKRS) boost for locally advanced head and neck cancer (HNC) with disease near dose-limiting structures.

Methods: Patients with HNC treated with IMRT/GKRS as part of a combined modality approach between 2011 and 2021 were reviewed. Local control, overall survival and disease-specific survival were estimated using the Kaplan Meier method.

Results: Twenty patients were included. Nineteen patients had T3-4 tumors. Median follow-up was 26.3 months. GKRS site control was 95%. Two patients progressed at the treated primary site, one patient failed at the edge of the GKRS treatment volume, with no perineural or intracranial failure. 2-year OS was 94.7% (95% CI: 85.2%-100%). Concurrent chemotherapy was given in nine patients (45%). One patient (5%) received induction/concurrent chemotherapy. Brain radionecrosis occurred in three patients, one of which was biopsy-proven.

Conclusions: IMRT plus GKRS boost results in excellent disease control near critical structures with minimal toxicity.

Keywords: Gamma Knife; Gamma Knife boost; head and neck cancer; intensity-modulated radiation therapy; normal tissue toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Radiosurgery* / adverse effects
  • Radiosurgery* / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated* / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome