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Postoperative radiotherapy after flap reconstructive surgery in patients with head and neck cancer: A retrospective monocentric study with flap delineation to assess toxicity and relapse

Abstract : Purpose Flaps are increasingly used during reconstructive surgery of head and neck cancers to improve functional outcomes. There are no guidelines as to whether the whole flap or its anastomotic border should be included in the primary tumour target volume of postoperative radiotherapy to prevent local relapses. Relapse and toxicity rates can increase substantially if the whole flap received full dose. Our aim was to determine whether flaps were included in the primary tumour target volume and to report the patterns of relapse and toxicity. Materials and methods Consecutive patients in 2014 through 2016, with or without a flap, receiving postoperative radiotherapy were selected in a retrospective monocentric control study. Flaps were homogenously delineated blind to treating radiation oncologists using a flap-specific atlas. Tumour recurrence, acute and late toxicity were evaluated using univariate and propensity score analyses. Results A hundred patients were included; 54 with a flap. Median flap volume included in the tumour volume was 80.9%. Twelve patients experienced local recurrences: six with a flap, among whom two within their flap (3.7%). Patients with flaps had larger median tumour volumes to be irradiated (25 cm3 versus 58 cm3, p < 0.001) and higher acute/late toxicity rates (p < 0.001) even after adjustment on biases (more advanced T stage, oral cavity, active smoking in patients with flaps). Locoregional recurrence and survival rates were similar between patients with/without a flap. Conclusion Recurrences within a flap were rare in this series when including the whole flap body in the 60Gy-clinical target volume but inclusion of the flap in the primary tumour target volume increased toxicity. Multicentric studies are warranted.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02989401
Contributor : Carole Brunaud <>
Submitted on : Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 10:35:13 AM
Last modification on : Friday, November 6, 2020 - 4:56:45 AM

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G. Michaël, J. Le guevelou, N. Jacksic, J. Lequesne, V. Bastit, et al.. Postoperative radiotherapy after flap reconstructive surgery in patients with head and neck cancer: A retrospective monocentric study with flap delineation to assess toxicity and relapse. Cancer Radiothérapie, Elsevier Masson, In press, ⟨10.1016/j.canrad.2020.06.024⟩. ⟨hal-02989401⟩

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