Objective: Examination of the rate of grade III or grade IV radiation dermatitis during treatment of head and neck cancer (HNC) with radiotherapy (RT) and concurrent cetuximab in EORTC centres.
Materials and method: A questionnaire was sent to all members of the EORTC Radiation Oncology Group and Head and Neck Group (111 institutions) to evaluate the widespread use of cetuximab and radiotherapy in HNC and to estimate the frequency of grades III and IV skin reactions in the radiation portals associated with this protocol. Co-morbidities, RT schedules and co-medications were also recorded.
Results: We received responses from 28 institutions in 11 countries. A total of 125 HNC patients from 15 institutions were treated with cetuximab and concurrent RT. Information about the skin reactions was available from 71 patients. Of these 36 had no grade III/IV adverse effects in the RT field, 15 had a grade III and 20 had grade IV radiation dermatitis. No detectable relation of grades III and IV radiation dermatitis with co-morbidities Such as liver insufficiency or renal dysfunction was found.
Conclusion: According to the results of the questionnaire, grade III/IV radiation dermatitis is observed in 49% of HNC patients treated with cetuximab and concurrent RT. A systematic clinical monitoring of cutaneous side effects during RT Plus cetuximab is advised to ensure the safety of this protocol. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved. Radiotherapy and Oncology 90 (2009) 166-171