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Keywords:

  • xerostomia;
  • multimodality therapy;
  • cancer

Abstract

The effects of multimodality therapy for head and neck cancer on whole salivary flow were evaluated. Eighteen subjects with head and neck cancer were studied. Resting and stimulated whole salivary flow rates were recorded, pretreatment, after individual modality therapy, and post-treatment. Twenty-four subjects with no history of head and neck cancer matched for age, and sex distribution, served as controls. Primary site, stage, major salivary glands resected, radiation fields, and dose to major salivary glands are reported. The average salivary flow rates for 18 subjects following treatment was reduced 83% for resting and 86% for stimulated saliva from pretreatment levels. The null hypothesis that the overall resting and stimulated whole salivary flow rates are unaffected by treatment (surgery and radiation) of the head and neck cancer was rejected (P values at 0.05 level of significance). Stage and location of primary, total dose delivered to and volume of gland exposure are important factors when predicting xerostomia following multimodality therapy.