Osteoradionecrosis after postoperative radiotherapy for oral cavity cancer: A retrospective cohort study

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Objective: Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) is a severe late complication after radiotherapy but current knowledge on ORN risks in the setting of postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) is limited. We studied the incidence and risk factors of ORN in patients with oral cavity cancers (OCC, treated with PORT.

Patients and Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted including OCC patients (mainly squamous cell) treated with postoperative intensity modulated radiotherapy between 2010 and 2018 with > 1 year disease-free survival. Cumulative incidences of ORN were computed using the Kaplan Meier method. Clinical and dosimetric risk factors for mandibular ORN were evaluated using Cox regression models.

Results: Within our cohort (N = 227, median follow-up 49 months) we observed 46 cases of ORN, mainly in the mandible (n = 41). The cumulative incidence of mandibular ORN was 15.9 % (SE 2.5 %) at three years and 19.8 % (SE 3.0 %) at five years. At univariable analysis, smoking, mandibular mandibulotomy or segment resection, mean dose to the mandible, and mandible volume (%) >= 60 Gy (V60) were significantly associated with increased ORN risks. At multivariable analysis, smoking (HR 2.13, 95 %CI 1.12-4.06) and V60 (HR 1.02 per 1 % increase, 95 %CI 1.01-1.04) remained predictive factors. For active smokers with a high V60 >= 40 % we observed rapid ORN development with a 1-year incidence of 29 % vs 6 % for others (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: OCC Patients treated with PORT are at high risk for mandibular ORN. We identified the mandibular volume receiving >= 60 Gy as the dominant risk factor, especially in active smokers. Limiting high-dose volumes at treatment planning may decrease ORN risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106056
Number of pages7
JournalOral Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

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