The Effect of Amifostine on Acute and Late Radiation Side Effects in Head and Neck Cancer Patients

DEMİRÖZ ABAKAY C. , Ozkan L., Cebelli G., Karadag O., Ozsahin E. M.

TURKIYE KLINIKLERI TIP BILIMLERI DERGISI, vol.32, no.5, pp.1207-1216, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.5336/medsci.2011-23100
  • Page Numbers: pp.1207-1216


Objective: We aimed to investigate the effect of amifostine on acute and late side effects, and its tolerability in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiotherapy (RT). Material and Methods: The study included 87 patients with primary head and neck cancers and cervical lymph node metastases from unknown primary cancers treated with RT alone or combined with chemotherapy (CT). Forty-one patients (47%) received amifostine combined with RT (ART group) and 46 patients (52%) received RT without amifostine (RT group). The patients were evaluated every week during the treatment and at month 1 and 2 after the completion of RT for acute side effects and month 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 after the treatment for late side effects according to SOMA/LENT scale. Amifostine was administered prior to RT, along with anti-emetic prophylaxis. The two groups were compared with the Student's t and Mann-Whitney U and Chi-square tests. Results: The ART group had significantly less toxicity (grade 1 mucositis, grade 2 fibrosis) than patients in the RT group (p=0.001, p=0.03, respectively). At week 3 of RT grade 2 mucositis developed in two patients (5%) in the ART group and 10 patients (22%) in the RT group (p=0.02). The protective effect of amifostine on skin reactions developed at week 4 of RT (p=0.05). Grade 3 xerostomia at 9, 12, and 15 months of follow-up (p=0.02, p=0.02, and p=0.02, respectively), grade 2 xerostomia at 18 and 24 months (p=0.02 and p=0.01, respectively) and fibrosis at 15, 18 and 24 months (p=0.05, p=0.02 and p=0.02, respectively) decreased markedly in the ART group compared with the RT group. Emesis was the most common adverse effect of amifostine. Conclusion: Daily administration of amifostine during RT was effective in avoiding late grade 2-3 xerostomia, as well as grade 2 fibrosis.