The Impact of Radiation Treatment Time on Survival in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Talha Shaikh, Elizabeth A. Handorf, Colin T. Murphy, Ranee Mehra, John A. Ridge, Thomas J. Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose To assess the impact of radiation treatment time (RTT) in head and neck cancers on overall survival (OS) in the era of chemoradiation. Methods and Materials Patients with diagnoses of tongue, hypopharynx, larynx, oropharynx, or tonsil cancer were identified by use of the National Cancer Database. RTT was defined as date of first radiation treatment to date of last radiation treatment. In the definitive setting, prolonged RTT was defined as >56 days, accelerated RTT was defined as <47 days, and standard RTT was defined as 47 to 56 days. In the postoperative setting, prolonged RTT was defined as >49 days, accelerated RTT was defined as <40 days, and standard RTT was defined as 40 to 49 days. We used χ2 tests to identify predictors of RTT. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to compare OS among groups. Cox proportional hazards model was used for OS analysis in patients with known comorbidity status. Results 19,531 patients were included; 12,987 (67%) had a standard RTT, 4,369 (34%) had an accelerated RTT, and 2,165 (11%) had a prolonged RTT. On multivariable analysis, accelerated RTT (hazard ratio [HR] 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.73-0.97) was associated with an improved OS, and prolonged RTT (HR 1.25; 95% CI 1.14-1.37) was associated with a worse OS relative to standard RTT. When the 9,200 (47%) patients receiving definitive concurrent chemoradiation were examined, prolonged RTT (HR 1.29; 95% CI 1.11-1.50) was associated with a worse OS relative to standard RTT, whereas there was no significant association between accelerated RTT and OS (HR 0.76; 95% CI 0.57-1.01). Conclusion Prolonged RTT is associated with worse OS in patients receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, even in the setting of chemoradiation. Expeditious completion of radiation should continue to be a quality metric for the management of head and neck malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-975
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Volume96
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Impact of Radiation Treatment Time on Survival in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this