Retrospective evaluation of the safety of low-level laser therapy/photobiomodulation in patients with head/neck cancer
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The standard therapeutic approach for locally advanced head and neck cancer is optimal use of radiation therapy with or without concomitant chemotherapy. The most common and distressing acute complication of such therapies is oral/pharyngeal mucositis that may be associated with severe morbidity and can interfere with the planned administration of therapy.
We have identified all patients diagnosed with head/neck cancer between 2005 and 2009, having received radiotherapy with or without cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Radiotherapy consisted of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in all patients. In patients with grade > 2 mucositis, photobiomodulation (PBM) consisted of three sessions of low-level laser irradiation weekly, in accordance with recently published recommendations for PBM. Patients who did not receive PBM were those for whom that approach was not requested by the radiotherapists and those who declined it.
Two hundred twenty-two patients (62%) received PBM and 139 did not (39%). The patient’s characteristics were equally distributed between the two groups. For overall survival, time to local recurrence, and progression-free survival, there was no statistical evidence for a difference in prognosis between patients with and without PBM. In a multivariate analysis, after adjusting for known prognostic factors, we found no statistical evidence that PBM was related to overall survival, progression-free survival, or local recurrence.
Our results show evidence of no effect of PBM upon overall survival, time to local recurrences, and disease-free survival of patients with head and neck cancer treated with radiotherapy with/without chemotherapy.
KeywordsLaser therapy Photobiomodulation Oral mucositis Prevention Head/neck cancer Radiotherapy
The authors would like to thank Michel Moreau and Marie-Aline Echterbille.
1. Conceptualization (equal): M.-T. Genot-Klastersky, J. Klastersky, M. Paesmans
2. Data curation/formal analysis: M. Paesmans (Lead), L. Ameye and A. Kayumba (equal)
3. Funding acquisition (equal): M.-T. Genot-Klastersky, J. Klastersky
4. Project administration: M. Paesmans (Lead), L. Ameye and A. Kayumba (equal)
5. Resources: D. Van Gestel (lead), S. Beauvois and T. Dragan (equal)
6. Supervision (equal): M.-T. Genot-Klastersky, J. Klastersky
7. Validation: J. Klastersky
8. Writing–original draft (equal): M.-T. Genot-Klastersky, J. Klastersky, M. Paesmans
The study has been supported by a grant provided by the “Amis de l’Institut Bordet.”
Compliance with ethical standards
The ethical committee of the Institut Jules Bordet gave a formal approval to conduct this retrospective analysis.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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