Functional outcomes related to the prevention of radiation-induced xerostomia: Oral pilocarpine versus submandibular salivary gland transfer

Authors

  • Jana M. Rieger PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM), Misericordia Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    • Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Naresh Jha MD,

    1. Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM), Misericordia Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Department of Radiation Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Judith A. Lam Tang MSc,

    1. Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM), Misericordia Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Jeffrey Harris MD,

    1. Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM), Misericordia Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    3. University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Hadi Seikaly MD

    1. Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM), Misericordia Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    3. University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Abstract

Background

Xerostomia has a devastating impact on oral function and quality of life in patients who receive radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. The purpose of this study was to examine functional outcomes related to 2 saliva-sparing treatments: (1) oral pilocarpine during radiotherapy; or (2) the submandibular salivary gland transfer (SGT) before radiotherapy.

Methods

Sixty-nine patients were recruited (SGT = 36; pilocarpine = 33). Speech intelligibility, swallowing outcomes, and quality of life were assessed at 4 points in time (pretreatment, and 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months after the pretreatment assessment).

Results

There were no differences between groups in speech outcomes; however, significant between-group differences existed in swallowing and quality of life outcomes. In all cases, patients who received the SGT procedure had better swallowing outcomes and quality of life scores than the patients who received oral pilocarpine.

Conclusion

The SGT should be the treatment of choice between the 2 treatments offered to prevent xerostomia in the present study. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2012

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