The effect of delayed primary treatment initiation on adverse events and recurrence in older head and neck cancer patients

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Abstract

Background and purpose: As a result of rapid tumor growth in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), delay in treatment initiation can result in tumor progression and inferior outcome. Especially older and frail patients are prone to develop adverse events. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of delay on development of adverse events and recurrence in older HNSCC patients. Materials and methods: This cohort study with prospectively collected data included all newly diagnosed, curatively treated HNSCC patients (>60 years) between 2015 and 2017. Time-to-treatment interval and geriatric domains were assessed. Adverse events were defined as postoperative complications (ClavienDindo classification) and acute radiation-induced toxicity (Common Terminology Criteria of Adverse Events). Multivariable regression models were performed, using adverse events and recurrence as outcome variables. Results: A total of 245 patients were included. Median time-to-treatment was 26 days for surgery patients and 40 days for radiotherapy patients (p < 0.001). Delayed treatment initiation was not associated with postoperative complications or acute radiation-induced toxicity. Delay was significantly associated with recurrence risk within two years after treatment initiation in a model adjusted for stage and tumor location in patients treated with initial surgery (HR:4.1, 95%CI:1.2- 14.0, p = 0.024). For patients treated with radiotherapy, delay was not significantly associated with recurrence risk. Conclusion: Delayed treatment initiation was independently associated with increased recurrence risk in patients treated with initial surgery. Delay was not associated with short-term adverse events. These findings highlight the importance of establishing fast-track care pathways to minimize delays and improve especially long-term outcome. (c) 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. Radiotherapy and Oncology 173 (2022) 154-162 This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-162
Number of pages9
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Volume173
Early online date6-Jun-2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Aug-2022

Keywords

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Delay
  • Time-to-treatment initiation
  • Adverse events
  • Recurrence
  • DECISION-MAKING
  • WAITING TIME
  • OUTCOME PRIORITIZATION
  • TREATMENT INTERVAL
  • INCREASING TIME
  • EUROPEAN HEAD
  • LOCAL-CONTROL
  • MANAGEMENT
  • DIAGNOSIS
  • SURVIVAL

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