Thyroid V50 Highly Predictive of Hypothyroidism in Head-and-Neck Cancer Patients Treated with Intensity-modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)

Sean Sachdev, Tamer Refaat, Ian D. Bacchus, Vythialinga Sathiaseelan, Bharat B. Mittal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Radiation-induced hypothyroidism affects a significant number of patients with head-and-neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC). We examined detailed dosimetric and clinical parameters to better determine the risk of hypothyroidism in euthyroid HNSCC patients treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Materials and Methods: From 2006 to 2010, 75 clinically euthyroid patients with HNSCC were treated with sequential IMRT. The cohort included 59 men and 16 females with a median age of 55 years (range, 30 to 89 y) who were treated to a median dose of 70 Gy (range, 60 to 75 Gy) with concurrent chemotherapy in nearly all (95%) cases. Detailed thyroid dosimetric parameters including maximum dose, mean dose, and other parameters (eg, V50-percent volume receiving at least 50 Gy) were obtained. Freedom from hypothyroidism was evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted using Cox regression. Results: After a median follow-up period of 50 months, 25 patients (33%) became hypothyroid. On univariate analysis, thyroid V50 was highly correlated with developing hypothyroidism (P=0.035). Other dosimetric paramaters including mean thyroid dose (P=0.11) and maximum thyroid dose (P=0.39) did not reach statistical significance. On multivariate analysis incorporating patient, tumor, and treatment variables, V50 remained highly statistically significant (P=0.037). Regardless of other factors, for V50>60%, the odds ratio of developing hypothyroidism was 6.76 (P=0.002). Conclusions: In HNSCC patients treated with IMRT, thyroid V50 highly predicts the risk of developing hypothyroidism. V50>60% puts patients at a significantly higher risk of becoming hypothyroid. This can be a useful dose constraint to consider during treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-417
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • head-and-neck cancer
  • hypothyroidism
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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