Patients were eligible when treated with curative radiation therapy with or without systemic treatment for T2-4 squamous cell carcinoma of the hypopharynx, larynx, or oropharynx (20 patients in total). FDG-PET/CT scans were made at baseline and for redelineation and replanning at the end of weeks 2 and 4 of radiation therapy. The metabolically active part of the primary tumor received a 4 Gy boost on top of the 70 Gy baseline dose per partial metabolic response. The study would be considered feasible when ≥80% of adaptations were successful and no Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade ≥4 acute toxicity occurred.
One patient received 70 Gy after complete metabolic response in week 2, and 12 patients received 78 Gy because of partial metabolic response at weeks 2 and 4. Seven patients received 74 Gy, either because of complete metabolic response at week 4 (n = 3) or a missed FDG-PET/CT (n = 4). The patients missed their FDG-PET/CT scans because they did not fast (n = 2) or at patients' request (n = 2). In addition to the 4 missed FDG-PET/CT scans, 2 adaptive plans could not be finished successfully owing to logistical problems. In total, 85% of adaptations were completed correctly. No patient experienced grade ≥4 toxicity, and 40% had grade 3 dysphagia (tube feeding) during treatment. This decreased at 12 weeks posttreatment to 20%.
This prospective trial demonstrates the feasibility of serial FDG-PET/CT scans for dose escalation and patient selection.
We investigated in a single-center prospective trial (NCT03376386) the use of serial fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET)/computed tomography (CT) to determine the boost dose and to guide boost segmentation in head and neck cancer.