Effects of radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy on tongue strength and swallowing in patients with oral cancer

Cathy Lazarus, Jeri A. Logemann*, Barbara Roa Pauloski, Alfred W. Rademaker, Irene B. Helenowski, Edward F. Vonesh, Ellen MacCracken, Bharat B. Mittal, Everett E. Vokes, Daniel J. Haraf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Background. Oral tongue strength and swallowing ability are reduced in patients treated with chemoradiotherapy for oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Methods. Patients with oral or oropharyngeal cancer treated with high-dose chemoradiotherapy underwent tongue strength, swallowing, and dietary assessments at pretreatment and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months posttreatment. Tongue strength was assessed using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument (IOPI). Oral and pharyngeal residue was evaluated utilizing videofluoroscopy. Results. Mean maximum tongue strength dropped a nonsignificant amount immediately after treatment, and then increased significantly at 6- and 12-months posttreatment completion. Analyses were adjusted for patient dropout. Tongue strength was not significantly correlated with swallow observations of percentage oral and pharyngeal residue. Ability to eat various diet consistencies was reduced after treatment but improved over time at a rate similar to changes in oral intake and type of diet. Conclusions. Parallel but not significant changes in oral intake, diet, and tongue strength in the first year post chemoradiation therapy need further study in a larger population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-637
Number of pages6
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Longitudinal analysis
  • Residue
  • Tongue strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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