Purpose: To determine the effect of prophylactic gastrostomy tube (GT) placement on acute and long-term outcome for patients treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced head and neck cancer. Methods and Materials: One hundred twenty consecutive patients were treated with chemoradiotherapy for Stage III/IV head and neck cancer to a median dose of 70 Gy (range, 64-74 Gy). The most common primary site was the oropharynx (66 patients). Sixty-seven patients (56%) were treated using intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). Seventy patients (58%) received prophylactic GT placement at the discretion of the physician before initiation of chemoradiotherapy. Results: Prophylactic GT placement significantly reduced weight loss during radiation therapy from 43 pounds (range, 0 to 76 pounds) to 19 pounds (range, 0 to 51 pounds), which corresponded to a net change of -14% (range, 0% to -30%) and -8% (range, +1% to -22%) from baseline, respectively (p < 0.001). However, the proportion of patients who were GT-dependent at 6- and 12-months after treatment was 41% and 21%, respectively, compared with 8% and 0%, respectively, for those with and without prophylactic GT (p < 0.001). Additionally, prophylactic GT was associated with a significantly higher incidence of late esophageal stricture compared with those who did not have prophylactic GT (30% vs. 6%, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Although prophylactic GT placement was effective at preventing acute weight loss and the need for intravenous hydration, it was also associated with significantly higher rates of late esophageal toxicity. The benefits of this strategy must be balanced with the risks.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics|
|State||Published - Nov 4 2010|
- Gastrostomy tube
- Head and neck cancer
- Weight loss