PURPOSE: This prospective, nonrandomized, interventional phase 1-2 study investigated the individualization of elective node irradiation in clinically N0 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping with single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) and its impact on tumor control and radiation-related toxicity.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Forty-four patients with clinically N0 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma treated with definitive (chemo-)radiation therapy were imaged with SPECT/CT after 99mTc nanocolloid injection around the tumor. The neck levels containing up to the 4 hottest SLNs were selected for prophylactic irradiation. A comparative virtual planning was performed with the selection of neck levels based on the current international guidelines. Regional control was monitored as a function of the selected volume. Dosimetric data for the organs at risk were compared between the plans. Normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) rates were derived for xerostomia, dysphagia, and hypothyroidism to predict the clinical benefit and correlated to quality-of-life (QoL) assessments at 6 months.
RESULTS: Sixteen percent of patients presented unpredicted lymphatic drainage, and 48% drained unilaterally. The nodal clinical target volume based on lymphoscintigraphy was smaller than the nodal clinical target volume based on international guidelines by a factor of 2 (P < .0001). After a median follow-up of 46 months, only 1 patient experienced a regional relapse in a nonirradiated area. Significant median dose reductions to organs at risk were observed, particularly to contralateral salivary glands in patients with unilateral drainage (14.6-28.1 Gy) and to the thyroid gland in all patients (22.4-48.9 Gy). Median NTCP reductions were observed for xerostomia (0.3% to 13.7%), dysphagia (1.7% to 10.8%), and hypothyroidism (14.0% to 36.1%). QoL at 6 months was improved, particularly in patients irradiated unilaterally.
CONCLUSIONS: Neck SLN mapping with SPECT/CT individualizes and reduces the elective nodal target volumes without compromising the regional control. The NTCP rates were reduced and favorable QoL were observed in all patients, particularly in the case of unilateral irradiation.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics|
|Early online date||12 Apr 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jul 2020|