Controversy surrounds who should receive adjuvant radiotherapy in patients with intermediate risk of recurrence of oral squamous cell carcinoma following primary surgery. The aim of this study was to compare health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes of those who received adjuvant radiotherapy to those who did not in patients at intermediate-risk of recurrence. A total of 765 oral cancer patients were treated at the Regional Maxillofacial Unit, Liverpool from 1995 to 2007. After excluding 124 patients (87 primary radiotherapy, 23 died within 90 days, 14 had insufficient information for determining risk group status), 169 were low-risk, 271 intermediate-risk and 201 were high-risk. In the intermediate-risk group, 33% had adjuvant radiotherapy. Allowing for attrition, more than 70% had University of Washington quality of life data (UW-QOL). Cumulative survival was similar in those with and without adjuvant radiotherapy in a subset of patients at intermediate risk. There was little difference in overall HRQOL scores and in the socio-emotional subscale scores of the UW-QOL. However, there was a significant difference in physical subscale scores and the issue most affected was saliva. These findings support better stratification of risk in the intermediate group, and the plausibility of withholding radiotherapy without compromising survival. This can have dramatic positive benefits on patient physical outcomes, in particular saliva. Where adjuvant radiotherapy is necessary, it is appropriate to minimise adverse effects through measures such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|