1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center, Shanghai, China
2. Division of Research and Development, Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center, Shanghai, China
3. Department of Radiation Oncology, Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China
* Both authors contributed equally to this manuscript
Purpose: Salvage radiation therapy (RT) is a potentially curative treatment option for head and neck sarcomas (HNS) that did not respond to previous treatment(s). We report the first clinical experience of carbon ion radiotherapy (CIRT) for salvage treatment of locally recurrent (LR) or RT-induced secondary HNS after surgery and/or radiotherapy.
Methods and Materials: A retrospective analysis of the ongoing prospective data registries from the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center was conducted. Patients with LR-HNS who underwent surgery and/or RT and those with RT-induced second primary HNS were included. Acute and late toxicities were evaluated using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0 and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group late radiation toxicity scoring system, respectively. The actuarial 12-month local progression-free and overall survival rates (LPFS and OS) were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results: Between 10/2015 and 7/2017, 19 consecutive and non-selected patients with LR-HNS or RT-induced secondary HNS received definitive doses of CIRT delivered with pencil beam scanning technology for salvage. Six patients had locally recurrent soft-tissue sarcoma, and another 6 had chondrosarcoma. Among these 12 patients, 4 had received one prior course of RT. Seven additional patients had an RT-induced second primary soft tissue sarcoma (STS)/osteosarcoma after RT. The median time between the completion of initial treatment (either surgery only or surgery followed by adjuvant RT) and salvage CIRT was 30.6 months.
The median follow-up time was 13.1 (range 1.6-41.1) months. All patients except one (for re-irradiation) completed the planned CIRT for salvage. The median dose of salvage CIRT was 60 GyE. Three patients developed local progression, and another 3 developed distant metastasis after salvage CIRT. Deaths occurred (3 patients) only in patients with radiation-induced second primary sarcoma at the time of analysis. The actuarial 12-month LPFS, DMFS and OS rates were 74.6%, 82.6% and 86.5%, respectively.
Two patients irradiated for a second primary sarcoma had Grade 4 bleeding during CIRT, including one who experienced the rupture of an optic artery aneurysm unrelated to his disease or the salvage treatment. No patient had Grade 5 toxicity during treatment. Except for one patient who died of hemorrhage 3.5 months after the completion of CIRT, no moderate or severe late toxicities were observed.
Conclusions: With few observed acute and late toxicities, salvage CIRT can provide effective short-term tumor control. Further research, preferably in a prospective fashion, will be required to confirm the efficacy and safety of salvage CIRT in this patient population.