(HealthDay News) – Patients with head and neck cancers treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) experience significant improvements in cause-specific survival (CSS) compared with patients treated with non-IMRT techniques, according to a study published online Jan. 13 in Cancer.
Beth M. Beadle, MD, PhD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues compared the CSS for 3,172 patients with head and neck cancers treated with IMRT vs. non-IMRT from 1999–2007. Information on CSS was extracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database.
The researchers found that, over a median follow-up of 40 months, patients treated with IMRT had a statistically significant improvement in CSS compared to those treated with non-IMRT (84.1% vs. 66%; P<0.001). All subgroups of patients treated with IMRT had better CSS than those treated with non-IMRT, when each anatomic subsite was analyzed separately. Patients treated with IMRT were associated with better CSS (hazard ratios, 0.72 for propensity score matching and 0.6 for instrumental variable analysis), in multivariable survival analyses.
“This suggests there may be benefits to IMRT in cancer outcomes, in addition to toxicity reduction, for this patient population,” the authors write.