Analysis of the Parotid Glands on an Energy Spectrum CT Iodine Map to Evaluate Irradiation-Induced Acute Xerostomia in Patients With Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2024 Jan-Dec:23:15330338241256814. doi: 10.1177/15330338241256814.


Objective: This prospective study aims to evaluate acute irradiation-induced xerostomia during radiotherapy by utilizing the normalized iodine concentration (NIC) derived from energy spectrum computed tomography (CT) iodine maps. Methods: In this prospective study, we evaluated 28 patients diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. At 4 distinct stages of radiotherapy (0, 10, 20, and 30 fractions), each patient underwent CT scans to generate iodine maps. The NIC of both the left and right parotid glands was obtained, with the NIC at the 0-fraction stage serving as the baseline measurement. After statistically comparing the NIC obtained in the arterial phase, early venous phase, late venous phase, and delayed phase, we chose the late venous iodine concentration as the NIC and proceeded to analyze the variations in NIC at each radiotherapy interval. Using the series of NIC values, we conducted hypothesis tests to evaluate the extent of change in NIC within the parotid gland across different stages. Furthermore, we identified the specific time point at which the NIC decay exhibited the most statistically significant results. In addition, we evaluated the xerostomia grades of the patients at these 4 stages, following the radiation therapy oncology group (RTOG) xerostomia evaluation standard, to draw comparisons with the changes observed in NIC. Results: The NIC in the late venous phase exhibited the highest level of statistical significance (P < .001). There was a noticeable attenuation in NIC as the RTOG dry mouth grade increased. Particularly, at the 20 fraction, the NIC experienced the most substantial attenuation (P < .001), a significant negative correlation was observed between the NIC of the left, right, and both parotid glands, and the RTOG evaluation grade of acute irradiation-induced xerostomia (P < .001, r = -0.46; P < .001, r = -0.45; P < .001, r = -0.47). The critical NIC values for the left, right, and both parotid glands when acute xerostomia occurred were 0.175, 0.185, and 0.345 mg/ml, respectively, with AUC = 0.73, AUC = 0.75, and AUC = 0.75. Conclusion: The NIC may be used to evaluate changes in parotid gland function during radiotherapy and acute irradiation-induced xerostomia.

Keywords: acute irradiation-induced xerostomia; energy spectrum CT; normalized iodine concentration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma* / radiotherapy
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Parotid Gland* / radiation effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Injuries / diagnosis
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Xerostomia* / etiology