Patients with head and neck cancers who have been treated with newer, more sophisticated radiation therapy technology enjoy a better quality of life than those treated with older radiation therapy equipment, a study by UC Davis researchers has found.
The findings, presented today at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Phoenix, is the first of its kind to measure long-term quality of life among cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy for advanced cancers of the throat, tongue, vocal cords, and other structures in the head and neck.
Allen Chen, assistant professor and director of the residency and fellowship training program in the UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology, reported that the use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, was associated with fewer long-term side effects, which led to a better quality of life. Standard radiation therapy to the head and neck has been known to affect a patient's ability to produce saliva, taste, and even chew food. These side effects historically have resulted in permanent disabilities.
"With the newer machines using IMRT, physicians are skillfully able to deliver higher doses of radiation to the tumor and lower doses to surrounding normal tissues than ever before," Chen said. "I wanted to see if this theoretical advantage resulted in any tangible improvements in quality of life for patients."
For the study, Chen used the University of Washington Quality of Life instrument, a standardized, previously validated questionnaire that patients complete after radiation therapy. The survey was administered prospectively to 155 patients at UC Davis Cancer Center diagnosed with head and neck cancers, 54 percent of whom were initially treated with IMRT and 46 percent of whom were treated with other radiation therapy technologies. All of the patients receiving IMRT also underwent image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), which has been available at UC Davis since 2006 and is used to increase accuracy by taking a high-quality scan of the tumor daily.
Chen and his colleagues found that the early gains observed in quality of life became magnified over time for those who received IMRT treatment. For example, one year after treatment, 51 percent of the IMRT patients rated their quality of life as very good or outstanding, compared to 41 percent of non-IMRT patients. But two years after treatment, the percentages changed to 73 percent and 49 percent respectively.
John Torres of Sacramento was diagnosed in early 2010 with a large tumor at the base of his tongue on the right side of his throat. Fearing that surgery might result in the loss of his voice box, Torres opted for IMRT with IGRT and had 33 treatments.
Torres, now 73 and in remission, points out that the treatments were "no walk in the park," but said he is faring much better than he expected. Although his mouth is often dry and he has lost some taste sensation, he is enjoying an active life.
"I golf a couple of time a week," he said. "My wife and I like to socialize. We go out, and we dance. And we are planning to take a cruise through the Panama Canal in next two or three months. Life has gotten back to pretty much exactly what it was."
Chen acknowledged that quality of life is difficult to measure because of its subjective nature. Nonetheless, he said the findings support the more widespread use of IMRT in radiation clinics throughout the country.
"There has been some reluctance to utilize it because it is expensive, resource intensive, and takes on average 10 to 12 hours to prepare a single patient's treatment," he said. "I think this is further evidence that our investment in developing newer technologies is really paying off."
Chen, whose findings will be highlighted at a symposium press briefing on Friday, Jan. 27, received no outside funding for the research. Other investigators who collaborated on the study were Gregory Farwell, Quang Luu, Esther Vazquez, Derick Lau, and James Purdy, all from the UC Davis Cancer Center.
UC Davis Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute- designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its top specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 9,000 adults and children every year, and offer patients access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program includes more than 280 scientists at UC Davis and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The unique partnership, the first between a major cancer center and national laboratory, has resulted in the discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis is collaborating with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer-care services. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.
Dorsey Griffith | EurekAlert!
Cancer cells make blood vessels drug resistant during chemotherapy
02.07.2020 | Hokkaido University
Novel potassium channel activator which acts as a potential anticonvulsant discovered
02.07.2020 | The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...
Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...
With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams. Thanks to a special evaluation method based on artificial intelligence (AI), the detection process is completed in just 70 milliseconds.
Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for...
02.07.2020 | Event News
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
03.07.2020 | Life Sciences
03.07.2020 | Earth Sciences
03.07.2020 | Life Sciences