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Palliative head-and-neck radiotherapy with cyclical hypofractionated radiotherapy (Quad Shot): A single-institutional experience

Sumitava De, Saptarshi Banerjee.


Background: This study aims to report on our institutional experience of palliative radiotherapy (RT) in the locally advanced head and neck by cyclical hypofractionated RT (Quad Shot) which is a short-course palliative regimen with good patient compliance, low rates of acute toxicity, and good response rates.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to review the use of the Quad Shot technique at our institution to quantify the palliative response in locally advanced head-and-neck cancer.

Materials and Methods: Between April 2017 and July 2019, 45 patients with biopsy-proven squamous cell carcinoma of the head-and-neck region at the Department of Radiotherapy, Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College, Kolkata, which were deemed to be fit for palliative RT by departmental tumor board were given cyclical hypofractionated palliative RT as 14 Gy in four fractions over 2 days, twice daily, repeated every 4 weeks for a maximum of 3 cycles. Retrospective assessment was done for improvement in pain and dysphagia and also response to treatment.

Results: Pain response occurred in 66.7% of the patients. The mean pain scores decreased significantly from pre- to post-treatment, 47.4 to 21.5 (P < 0.0001). The mean initial dysphagia score improved from 21.9 to 38.2 (P = 0.0002). About 60% of patients developed mucositis (≤ Grade 2), while no Grade 3 mucositis was reported. A total of 30 patients had partial response (66.67%) and 6 patients had stable disease. However, a total of nine patients had progressive disease which included those patients that were given fewer courses of Quad Shot.

Conclusion: In locally advanced head-and-neck cancer patients particularly with poor performance status or elderly patients who are in dire need of some form of local therapy for symptom control and palliation, the hypofractionated palliative RT regimen (Quad Shot) offers an effective and quick treatment option which is beneficial both clinically and in logistics issue.

Key words: Head-and-Neck Cancers; Hypofractionated Radiotherapy; Quad Shot

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