Combining radiation and surgery significantly improves survival for head and neck cancer patients

June 09, 2008

Adding radiation therapy to surgery significantly improves overall survival in patients diagnosed with node-positive head and neck cancer when compared to treating with surgery alone, according to a study in the June issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Radiation therapy is commonly used after surgery to treat some head and neck cancers, but very few studies have been conducted to determine its impact on survival. Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine departments of Radiation Oncology and Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery in New York sought to determine with this study the impact of radiation and surgery on a head and neck cancer patients' overall survival. Between 1988 and 2001, 5,297 patients with a median age of 59 who were diagnosed with node-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma were treated with surgery and/or adjuvant radiation therapy. The patients were surveyed approximately 4.4 years after treatment, and the researchers found that adding radiation to surgery improved patients' chance of survival by 25 percent in all nodal stages (N1-N3), including N1 stage patients, even though radiation is typically recommended only for N2 and N3 stage patients.

"This study provides evidence that radiation should be considered after surgery for most head and neck cancer patients with positive lymph nodes," said Johnny Kao, M.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "For these patients, adding radiation improves not only locoregional control but also greatly increases their chance for overall survival. The findings of this study should serve to enhance the use of adjuvant radiation as the most effective treatment method for these types of cancer."
-end-
For more information radiation therapy treatments for head and neck cancers, visit www.rtanswers.org. ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 9,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy.

American Society for Radiation Oncology

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.