To identify potential risk factors for the development of jaw osteoradionecrosis (ORN) after 3D-conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) among patients with newly diagnosed head and neck cancer.
Material and methods
This study included 776 patients who underwent 3D-CRT or IMRT for head and neck cancer at the Department of Radiotherapy at the University Hospital Halle-Wittenberg between 2003 and 2013. Sex, dental status prior to radiotherapy, tumor site, bone surgery during tumor resection, concomitant chemotherapy, and the development of advanced ORN were documented for each patient. ORN was classified as grade 3, 4, or 5 according to the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer classification or grade 3 or 4 according to the late effects in normal tissues/subjective, objective, management, and analytic scale. The cumulative incidence of ORN was estimated. Cox regression analysis was used to identify prognostic risk factors for the development of ORN.
Fifty-one patients developed advanced ORN (relative frequency 6.6 %, cumulative incidence 12.4 %). The highest risk was found in patients who had undergone primary bone surgery during tumor resection (hazard ratio [HR] = 5.87; 95 % confidence interval [CI]: 3.09–11.19) and in patients with tumors located in the oral cavity (HR = 4.69; 95 % CI: 1.33–16.52). Sex, dentition (dentulous vs. edentulous), and chemotherapy had no clinically relevant influence.
Discussion and conclusion
In contrast to most previous studies, we noted a low cumulative incidence of advanced ORN. Patients with tumors located in the oral cavity and those who undergo bone surgery during tumor resection prior to RT may be considered a high-risk group for the development of ORN.