Tissue/dose compensation to reduce toxicity from combined radiation and chemotherapy for advanced head and neck cancers

Bharat B. Mittal*, Alan Kepka, Arul Mahadevan, Merrill Kies, Harold Pelzer, Marcy A. List, Alfred Rademaker, Jeri Logemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken to quantify the reduction in normal tissue complications resulting from the aggressive management of advanced head and neck cancers (AHNCs) utilizing tissue/dose compensation (TDC). Thirty-nine patients with AHNC were treated on an intensive chemotherapy + radiation regimen. Eighteen of 39 patients were treated using TDC; the remaining 21 patients were radiated without TDC (NTDC). Acute and chronic toxicities, swallowing, speech function, and quality of life were assessed. The TDC group had a smaller radiation dose gradient across the entire treatment volume. Unscheduled treatment breaks were required in 11% of TDC patients as compared with 43 % of the NTDC group (P = 0.04). The TDC group had fewer Grade 3 or 4 acute and chronic toxicities and lower SOMA scores. At 3 months posttreatment, patients in the TDC group had better oral intake, lower pharyngeal residue, and better oropharyngeal swallowing efficiency and were able to swallow more bolus types. Patients in the TDC group also had better articulation. Use of TDC resulted in reduced treatment-related interruptions, decreased acute and chronic toxicities, and better speech and swallowing functions. Techniques to improve radiation dose conformality around the target tissues while decreasing the radiation dose to the normal tissues should be an integral part of aggressive combined modality therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - 2001


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Intensity modulation
  • Tissue compensator
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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