(1) Background: Head and neck cancer (HNC) patients with recurrent or second primary (SP) tumors in previously irradiated areas represent a clinical challenge. Definitive or postoperative reirradiation with or without sensitizing therapy, like chemotherapy, should be considered. As an alternative to chemotherapy, hyperthermia has shown to be a potent sensitizer of radiotherapy in clinical studies in the primary treatment of HNC. At our institution, we developed the Hypercollar3D, as the successor to the Hypercollar, to enable improved application of hyperthermia for deeply located HNC. In this study, we report on the feasibility and clinical outcome of patients treated with the Hypercollar3D as an adjuvant to reirradiation in recurrent or SP HNC patients; (2) Methods: We retrospectively analyzed all patients with a recurrent or SP HNC treated with reirradiation combined with hyperthermia using the Hypercollar3D between 2014 and 2018. Data on patients, tumors, and treatments were collected. Follow-up data on disease specific outcomes as well as acute and late toxicity were collected. Data were analyzed using Kaplan Meier analyses; (3) Results: Twenty-two patients with recurrent or SP HNC were included. The average mean estimated applied cfSAR to the tumor volume for the last 17 patients was 80.5 W/kg. Therefore, the novel Hypercollar3D deposits 55% more energy at the target than our previous Hypercollar applicator. In patients treated with definitive thermoradiotherapy a complete response rate of 81.8% (9/11) was observed at 12 weeks following radiotherapy. Two-year local control (LC) and overall survival (OS) were 36.4% (95% CI 17.4–55.7%) and 54.6% (95% CI 32.1–72.4%), respectively. Patients with an interval longer than 24 months from their previous radiotherapy course had an LC of 66.7% (95% CI 37.5–84.6%), whereas patients with a time interval shorter than 24 months had an LC of 14.3% (95% CI 0.7–46.5%) at 18 months (p = 0.01). Cumulative grade 3 or higher toxicity was 39.2% (95% CI 16.0–61.9%); (4) Conclusions: Reirradiation combined with deep hyperthermia in HNC patients using the novel Hypercollar3D is feasible and deposits an average cfSAR of 80.5 W/kg in the tumor volume. The treatment results in high complete response rates at 12 weeks post-treatment. Local control and local toxicity rates were comparable to those reported for recurrent or SP HNC. To further optimize the hyperthermia treatment in the future, temperature feedback is warranted to apply heat at the maximum tolerable dose without toxicity. These data support further research in hyperthermia as an adjuvant to radiotherapy, both in the recurrent as well as in the primary treatment of HNC patients.
Bibliographical noteFunding: This research was supported in part by KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society), grant number 11368 and Sensius BV.
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