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Quant Imaging Med Surg. 2022 May;12(5):2841-2854. doi: 10.21037/qims-21-836.
BACKGROUND: Salivary gland cancer (SGC) is relatively rare and constitutes a variety of histological subtypes. Previously published studies of SGC patients suggest that postoperative radiation using conventional radiotherapy (RT) or 3-dimensional (3D) conformal radiotherapy may have led to suboptimal oncological outcomes.
METHODS: We identified 60 patients with major SGC treated with surgery followed by postoperative intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). Data for overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), locoregional relapse-free survival (LRRFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), prognostic factors, and treatment-related toxicities were analyzed. Survival was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test.
RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 55.5 months, based on Kaplan-Meier analyses, the OS and PFS rates for SGC patients at 3, 5, and 10 years were 90.7%, 85.1%, and 85.1% and 80.1%, 72.7%, and 63.1%, respectively. The LRRFS and DMFS rates at 3, 5, and 10 years were 87.4%, 82.1%, and 82.1% and 85.3%, 78.4%, and 66.1%, respectively. In multivariable analysis (MVA), the node stage (N stage) was an independent predictor of PFS [P=0.047; hazard ratio (HR) =0.089]. A positive margin was a significant prognostic factor for PFS (P=0.036; HR =4.086), LRRFS (P=0.026; HR =5.064), and DMFS (P=0.011; HR =6.367). Major nerve involvement was significantly correlated with PFS (P=0.034; HR =2.394) and DMFS (P=0.008; HR =2.115). The interval from surgery to radiotherapy predicted PFS (P=0.036; HR =3.934) and DMFS (P=0.012; HR =6.231). Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) was the most common histology (n=21; 35%). For ACC, the 5-year OS, PFS, LRRFS, and DMFS were 100%, 67.7%, 76.2%, and 90.2%, respectively. The most common acute toxicities were mucositis and dermatitis, and xerostomia was the most common late adverse event. Lung metastasis was the most common pattern of distant failure.
CONCLUSIONS: N stage, positive margin, major nerve involvement, and interval from surgery to radiotherapy were important factors associated with PFS, LRRFS, and DMFS. Postoperative IMRT leads to improved survival for SGC patients, with acceptable toxicities.