Interstitial high-dose-rate brachytherapy in the treatment of base of tongue carcinoma

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Background and Purpose: To date none of the studies examined the feasibility and efficacy of interstitial high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy in the treatment of carcinoma of the tongue base. Therefore the aim of this study was to contribute to this issue. Patients and Methods: Between 1992 and 2000 37 patients (mean age 55 years) with T1-4 and N0-3 carcinoma of the base of tongue were presented. Neck dissection was carried out in twelve cases (32%). 30 patients with advanced stage received brachytherapy boost after 50-66.5 Gy (mean, 60 Gy) locoregional external beam irradiation (EBI) and 7 patients with early stage (T1-2, N0) were managed locally with wide tumor excision and sole brachytherapy. 4 of them underwent neck dissection and the others were subjected to 50 Gy regional EBI. The mean dose of boost and sole brachytherapy was 18 Gy and 28 Gy, respectively. Results: The median follow-up time for surviving patients was 51 months. The 7 sole brachytherapy patients are living with no evidence of disease. For patients treated with EBI and brachytherapy boost, the 5-year actuarial rate of local, locoregional recurrence-free and overall survival was 60%, 52% and 46%, respectively. For all patients in univariate analysis larger tumor size (T4 vs. T1-3) was significant negative predictor of local (RR: 7.23) and locoregional control (RR: 3.87), but nodal involvement was not. Delayed soft tissue ulceration and osteoradionecrosis occurred in 4 (13%) EBI and brachytherapy treated patients. None of the sole brachytherapy patients experienced severe late radiation toxicity. Conclusion: EBI combined with interstitial HDR brachytherapy boost result in acceptable local tumor control with low incidence of late side effects in patients with advanced disease. Fractionated sole HDR brachytherapy following tumor excision is a feasible treatment option for patients with early stage cancer and gives excellent local results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-775
Number of pages8
JournalStrahlentherapie und Onkologie
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - dec. 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Oncology

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