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Keywords:

  • percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy;
  • oropharyngeal cancer;
  • intensity-modulated radiotherapy

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The clinical benefit of routine placement of prophylactic percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (pPEG) tubes was assessed in patients with oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) who are undergoing intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with concurrent chemotherapy.

METHODS:

From 1998 through 2009, 400 consecutive patients with OPC who underwent chemoradiation were included. Of these, 325 had a pPEG and 75 did not (nPEG). Weight and albumin change from baseline to mid-IMRT, end of IMRT, 1 month post-IMRT, and 3 months post-IMRT were evaluated. The treating physicians prospectively recorded acute and late toxicities.

RESULTS:

Significantly lower absolute weight loss at end of IMRT (6.80 kg vs 8.38 kg, P = .007), 1 month post-IMRT (9.06 kg vs 11.33 kg, P = .006), and 3 months post-IMRT (11.10 kg vs 13.09 kg, P = .044) was noted in the pPEG versus nPEG groups. This benefit in reduction of percent weight loss was consistently significant only among patients with BMI < 25. Significant differences were noted in hospital admission rate (15.1% vs 26.7%, P = .026) and volume of nonchemotherapy hydration (8.9 liters vs 17.2 liters, P = .004). There were no differences in percent albumin change, acute dysphagia, acute mucositis, acute xerostomia, chronic dysphagia, radiation treatment duration, and overall survival. Multivariate analysis noted age >55 years (P < .001), female sex (P < .001), and T3/4 category disease (P < .001) were significantly associated with prolonged PEG use.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although pPEG reduced absolute and percent weight loss and need for hospitalizations in our cohort of patients with OPC undergoing chemoradiation, no differences were noted in radiation treatment duration, toxicity, and overall survival. Prolonged PEG use correlated with age >55 years, female sex, and T3/T4 tumors. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.