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Altered fractionation radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy in the treatment of head and neck cancer: a network meta-analysis

Authors Liu Y, Kou C, Bai W, Liu X, Song Y, Zhang L, Wang M, Zhang Y, You Y, Yin Y, Jiang X, Xin Y

Received 23 April 2018

Accepted for publication 7 July 2018

Published 4 September 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 5465—5483

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S172018

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Federico Perche


Yingyu Liu,1 Changgui Kou,1 Wei Bai,1 Xinyu Liu,1 Yan Song,1 Lili Zhang,1 Mohan Wang,1 Yangyu Zhang,1 Yueyue You,1 Yue Yin,2 Xin Jiang,3 Ying Xin4

1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China; 2Department of Radiation Oncology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China; 3Department of Radiation Oncology, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China; 4Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China

Objectives: A Bayesian network meta-analysis (NMA) was conducted in patients with head and neck cancers (HNCs) to estimate the efficacy and safety of treatment with conventional fractionation radiotherapy (CF), conventional fractionation chemoradiotherapy (CF_CRT), hyperfractionated radiotherapy (HF), hyperfractionated chemoradiotherapy (HF_CRT), accelerated fractionation radiotherapy, accelerated fractionation chemoradiotherapy, accelerated hyperfractionated radiotherapy (HART) or accelerated hyperfractionated chemoradiotherapy (HACRT) to identify superior treatments to aid in clinical decisions.
Methods: PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) were searched for potentially eligible randomized controlled trials up to December 2016. Overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS) and locoregional control (LRC) were considered efficacy outcomes, whereas acute toxicity and late toxicity on skin and mucosa were considered safety outcomes. The surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) was calculated to rank each treatment in each index.
Results: Data from 72 trials with 21,868 participants were included in the analysis. Concerning OS, all treatments were associated with a significant advantage compared to CF alone, with HR effect sizes ranging from 0.64 to 0.83, and HACRT was significantly more effective than all the other treatments. The network comparisons of both HACRT vs HART and HF_CRT vs HF demonstrated a higher OS benefit, with an HR of 0.78 (95% credible interval [CrI]: 0.64–0.95) and 0.78 (95% CrI: 0.61–0.99), respectively. The results of SUCRA indicated that HACRT had the best ranking for OS and LRC, HF_CRT for DFS, HART for acute and late skin toxicity, CF_CRT for acute mucosal toxicity and HF_CRT for late mucosal toxicity.
Conclusion: The NMA results support the notion that HACRT is the preferable treatment modality for HNCs because it has better rankings in all three efficacy indexes, although it does present a high risk of acute mucosal toxicity.

Keywords: altered fractionation radiotherapy, head and neck cancer, randomized controlled trials, network meta-analysis

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