ACR appropriateness criteria® adjuvant therapy for resected squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
Locoregional recurrence following surgical resection alone for stage III/IV head and neck cancer is common. Adjuvant radiotherapy has been shown to improve post-operative locoregional control when compared to pre-operative radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. Following surgical resection, adverse pathological features determine the need for adjuvant therapy. High-risk pathologic features include extranodal tumor spread and involved surgical margins. Other adverse pathologic features include T 3-4 tumors, perineural invasion, lymphovascular space invasion, low neck adenopathy, and multiple tumor involved cervical lymph nodes. The standard adjuvant therapies are post-operative radiation therapy or post-operative chemoradiotherapy. Post-operative chemoradiotherapy yields superior locoregional control, progression-free survival, and in some studies, overall survival compared to post-operative radiotherapy for high-risk patients in multiple randomized studies. Pooled analyses of randomized data demonstrate that post-operative concurrent chemoradiotherapy is associated with overall survival benefits for patients with involved surgical margins as well as those with extranodal tumor spread. Post-operative radiotherapy concurrent with cisplatin at 100 mg/m(2) every 21 days is the current standard chemoradiotherapy platform adjuvant head and neck cancer treatment. Post-operative radiotherapy and post-operative chemoradiotherapy radiation treatment volumes are not standardized and should be designed based on the risk of recurrence and clinically occult involvement of head and neck subsites and nodal regions. Evidence supports a post-operative radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy radiation dose of at least 63 Gy for high-risk patients and at least 57 Gy for low risk patients.
Expert Panel on Radiation Oncology-Head and Neck, ; Salama, JK; Saba, N; Quon, H; Garg, MK; Lawson, J; McDonald, MW; Ridge, JA; Smith, RV; Yeung, AR; Yom, SS; Beitler, JJ
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