To compare the efficacy and safety of high dose rate (HDR) and low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy in treating early-stage oral cancer.
A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases, restricted to English language up to June 1, 2012, was performed to identify potentially relevant studies.
Only randomized controlled trials (RCT) and controlled trials that compared HDR to LDR brachytherapy in treatment of early-stage oral cancer (stages I, II and III) were of interest.
Data Extraction and Synthesis
Two investigators independently extracted data from retrieved studies and controversies were solved by discussion. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5.1. One RCT and five controlled trials (607 patients: 447 for LDR and 160 for HDR) met the inclusion criteria. The odds ratio showed no statistically significant difference between LDR group and HDR group in terms of local recurrence (OR = 1.12, CI 95% 0.62–2.01), overall mortality (OR = 1.01, CI 95% 0.61–1.66) and Grade 3/4 complications (OR = 0.86, CI 95% 0.52–1.42).
This meta-analysis indicated that HDR brachytherapy was a comparable alternative to LDR brachytherapy in treatment of oral cancer. HDR brachytherapy might become a routine choice for early-stage oral cancer in the future.