Background: Oesophageal and gastric cancer are highly lethal malignancies with a 5-year survival rate of 15–29%. More knowledge is needed about the quality of end-of-life care in order to understand the burden of the illness and the ability of the current health care system to deliver timely and appropriate end-of-life care. The aim of this study was to describe the impact of initial treatment strategy and survival time on the quality of end-of-life care among patients with oesophageal and gastric cancer.
Methods: This register-based cohort study included patients who died from oesophageal and gastric cancer in Sweden during 2014–2016. Through linking data from the National Register for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer, the National Cause of Death Register, and the Swedish Register of Palliative Care, 2156 individuals were included. Associations between initial treatment strategy and survival time and end-of-life care quality indicators were investigated. Adjusted risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using modified Poisson regression.
Results : Patients with a survival of =3 months and 4–7 months had higher RRs for hospital death compared to patients with a survival =17 months. Patients with a survival of =3 months also had a lower RR for end-of-life information and bereavement support compared to patients with a survival =17 months, while the risks of pain assessment and oral assessment were not associated with survival time. Compared to patients with curative treatment, patients with no tumour-directed treatment had a lower RR for pain assessment. No significant differences were shown between the treatment groups regarding hospital death, end-of-life information, oral health assessment, and bereavement support.
Conclusions : Short survival time is associated with several indicators of low quality end-of-life care among patients with oesophageal and gastric cancer, suggesting that a proactive palliative care approach is imperative to ensure quality end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: For most patients with oesophageal cancer worldwide, palliation of dysphagia is the goal which is most commonly achieved with self-expanding metal stents (SEMS). The aim of this study was to assess the profile and management of oesophageal cancer patients at Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape, and compare this to a similar cohort from Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) in the Western Cape Province.
METHOD: This study is a retrospective comparative cohort which reviewed all patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer by the Frere Hospital and GSH endoscopy units from January to December 2015. Independent prospective electronic databases for the two hospitals were merged for comparative analysis.
RESULTS: During the study period, 346 and 108 patients were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer at Frere Hospital and GSH respectively. The rate of curative intended intervention was similarly low, with 3% of cases at Frere Hospital undergoing oesophagectomy or definitive radiotherapy as compared to 5% at GSH (p=0.48). In terms of palliation, significantly more patients received palliative oncological therapy at GSH as compared to Frere Hospital (21% vs 8%, p < 0.001). At Frere Hospital, 281 patients (81%) were treated primarily with serial dilatations. At GSH, 9 patients received a single dilatation, all as a bridge to radiotherapy or stenting. At Frere Hospital, 28 patients (8%) were stented, as compared to GHS where 69 patients (64%) were managed with a stent (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: This study shows significant differences in the oncological and endoscopic palliation of patients between the two institutions, highlighting a gross disparity in healthcare provision between them. The reasons for these disparities should be investigated and equipoise addressed by national health policy makers.
Background: Platinum-based chemotherapy is the standard of care as first-line treatment for recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (RM-NPC); however, the prognosis of patients with RM-NPC remains poor. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) antibody plus chemotherapy for RM-NPC.
Methods: RM-NPC patients who received first-line chemotherapy plus an anti-EGFR antibody were recruited from Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center between July 2007 and November 2017. Survival analyses were performed using the Kaplan-Meier method with a log-rank test. A Cox proportional hazards model was used for the multivariate analyses.
Results: A total of 203 patients were enrolled in the present study. The median follow-up time was 34.3 months (interquartile range: 19.7-66.5 months). The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 8.9 months (95% CI: 7.7-10.0 months) and the median overall survival (OS) was 29.1 months (95% CI: 23.5-34.6 months). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year PFS and OS rates were 35.5% and 79.6%, 15.2% and 42.5%, and 11.6% and 23.6%, respectively. The objective response rate (ORR) was 67.5% and the disease control rate (DCR) was 91.1%. The multivariate analysis identified the following prognostic factors for PFS: anti-EGFR agent (P = .010), recurrence/metastasis sequence (P = .016), KPS (P = .017), and combined chemotherapy regimen (P = .015). Independent risk factors for OS included age >43 years (P = .002), Karnofsky performance score =80 (P < .001), and higher level of baseline Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA (P = .008). Leukopenia was the most common adverse event (AE) in this cohort (any grade, 84.2%; grades 3-4, 43.4%).
Conclusions: Anti-EGFR antibody plus chemotherapy achieved promising antitumor activity with a tolerable toxicity profile in RM-NPC. Thus, randomized clinical trials are warranted to compare the efficacy of chemotherapy with or without anti-EGFR antibody in these patients.
The majority of patients with esophagus cancer have advanced-stage disease without curative options. For these patients, treatment is focused on improving symptoms and quality of life. Despite this, little work has been done to quantify symptom burden for incurable patients. We describe symptoms using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) among esophagus cancer patients treated for incurable disease. This retrospective cohort study linked administrative datasets to prospectively collected ESAS data of non-curatively treated adult esophagus cancer patients diagnosed between January 1, 2009 and September 30, 2016. ESAS measures nine common cancer-related symptoms: anxiety, depression, drowsiness, lack of appetite, nausea, pain, shortness of breath, tiredness, and impaired well-being. Frequency of severe symptoms (score = 7/10) was described by month for the 6 months from diagnosis for all patients and by treatment type (chemotherapy alone, radiotherapy alone, both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and best supportive care). A sensitivity analysis limited to patients who survived at least 6 months was performed to assess robustness of the results to proximity to death and resulting variation in follow-up time. Among 2,989 esophagus cancer patients diagnosed during the study period and meeting inclusion criteria, 2,103 reported at least one ESAS assessment in the 6 months following diagnosis and comprised the final cohort. Patients reported a median of three (IQR 2–7) ESAS assessments in the study period. Median survival was 7.6 (IQR 4.1–13.7) months. Severe lack of appetite (53.1%), tiredness (51.1%), and impaired well-being (42.7%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. Severe symptoms persisted throughout the 6 months after the diagnosis. Subgroup analysis by treatment showed no worsening of symptoms over time in those treated by either chemotherapy alone, or both chemotherapy and radiation. Results followed a similar pattern on sensitivity analysis. Patients diagnosed with incurable esophagus cancer experience considerable symptom burden in the first 6 months after diagnosis and the frequency of severe symptoms remains high throughout this period. Patients with this disease require early palliative care and psychosocial support upon diagnosis and support throughout the course of their cancer journey.
PURPOSE: Platinum-resistant oral cancer has a dismal outcome with limited treatment options. We conducted a phase I/II study to identify the optimal biologic dose (OBD) of methotrexate when given along with erlotinib and celecoxib and to assess the efficacy of this three-drug regimen in advanced oral cancer.
METHODS: Patients with platinum-resistant or early-failure squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity were eligible for this study. They were orally administered erlotinib 150 mg once per day, celecoxib 200 mg twice per day, and methotrexate per week. The primary end point of phase I was to determine the OBD of methotrexate, and that of phase II was to determine the 3-month progression-free survival. The OBD of methotrexate was determined on the basis of the clinical benefit rate at 2 months and circulating endothelial cell level at day 8, using a de-escalation model. Pharmacokinetic evaluation was performed during phase I. Phase II consisted of an expansion cohort of 76 patients.
RESULTS: Fifteen patients were recruited in phase I, and 9 mg/m2 methotrexate was identified as the OBD. A total of 91 patients were recruited, and the median follow-up was 6.8 months (range, 0 to 16.8 months). The 3-month progression-free survival rate was 71.1% (95% CI, 60.5% to 79.3%), the 6-month overall survival rate was 61.2% (95% CI, 49.2% to 67.8%), and the response rate was 42.9% (95% CI, 33.2% to 53.1%; n = 39). The mean Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck Trial Outcome Index score at day 8 was improved by 6.1 units (standard deviation, 13.6 units) and was maintained around this magnitude (P = .001).
CONCLUSION: Triple oral metronomic chemotherapy with erlotinib, methotrexate, and celecoxib is efficacious in platinum-refractory oral cavity cancers and represents a new therapeutic option in patients with poor prognosis.
BACKGROUND: Although palliative care treatment modalities have been shown to improve functional outcomes and provide symptom alleviation in sinonasal cancer, its impact on survival still remains unclear. In this study we aimed to elicit the impact of different palliative therapy options on survival in a nationally representative sample of sinonasal cancer patients.
METHODS: National Cancer Database 2004-2015 data sets were queried for cases of primary sinonasal cancer (N = 380). Kaplan-Meier analysis was utilized to determine median overall survival (M-OS) and overall survival (OS) among the different treatment cohorts (pain management, palliative radiation therapy, palliative chemotherapy, palliative surgery, and combination therapy). Prognostic factors were elicited by comparing OS by log-rank tests and subsequent multivariate Cox regression analysis.
RESULTS: Of the total patients of sinonasal malignancy treated with palliative therapy, most were <70 years old, had stage 4 cancer, and histology indicating squamous cell carcinoma (p < 0.05). On Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, the 1-year OS (1Y-OS) and M-OS were 43.6% and 10.1 months, respectively. The 1Y-OS and M-OS for pain management alone were 35.3% and 4.56 months, respectively. Surgery had the highest 1Y-OS and M-OS, at 74.7% and 22.8 months, respectively (p = 0.002). All treatment modalities had increased 1Y-OS compared with pain management alone. Multivariant analysis demonstrated palliative surgery to be associated with decreased risk of death (hazard ratio, 0.33; 95% confidence interval, 0.17-0.63).
CONCLUSION: In this study we identify the impact of palliative treatment modalities on survival in sinonasal cancer. Palliative surgery was shown to have the highest 1Y-OS and M-OS compared with other palliative treatment modalities.
Introduction: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a rare malignancy. We conducted an audit of systemic therapies received in palliative setting in carcinoma nasopharynx and studied their outcomes.
Methods: Patients who underwent first-line palliative systemic chemotherapy between January 2014 and April 2017 for carcinoma nasopharynx at the department of medical oncology at authors' institute were selected for this analysis. Toxicities, responses, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were analyzed. In addition, a Quality-Adjusted Time without Symptoms or Toxicity analysis with threshold utility analysis was performed.
Results: Fifty-one patients were included in this analysis. The indication of palliative chemotherapy was locoregionally recurrent disease in 25 (49.0%) patients and metastatic disease in 26 (51.0%) patients. The overall response rate was 62.0% (n = 33). The median PFS was 225 days (95% confidence interval [CI]: 164-274 days) and median OS was 513 days (95% CI: 286-931 days). The restricted mean TOX state duration was 2.6 days (95% CI: 0.3-4.9), restricted mean TWiST duration was 219.2 days (95% CI: 184.0-254.4), and restricted mean REL duration was 74.3 days (95% CI: 38.1-110.4).
Conclusion: Systemic cytotoxic therapy in nasopharyngeal cancers is associated with high response rates and clinically meaningful PFS; with low duration of time spent in adverse events.
RATIONALE: Syncope caused by head and neck cancer (HNC) is rare. However, syncope caused by tongue cancer (TC) is even rarer. In TC, syncope is caused by tumor-mediated compression of the carotid sinus and stimulation of the glossopharyngeal nerve.
PATIENT CONCERNS: In this study, we report the case of a 48-year-old male patient who was diagnosed with advanced TC and bilateral cervical lymph node metastasis. On the third day of admission, the patient experienced recurrent syncope with hypotension and bradycardia.
DIAGNOSES: The patient was diagnosed with a well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue along with massive cervical lymph node metastasis and carotid sinus syndrome.
INTERVENTIONS: Initially, symptomatic treatment of syncope boosted the blood pressure and increased the heart rate. Thereafter, a temporary pacemaker was implanted. Finally, chemotherapy was used to control the tumor and relieve syncope.
OUTCOMES: After chemotherapy, the tongue ulcers and cervical lymph node reduced in size; syncope did not recur.
LESSONS: This case shows that chemotherapy may be a valid treatment option in patients with cancer-related syncope; however, the choice of chemotherapeutic drugs is critical. Intensive care provides life support to patients and creates opportunities for further treatment.
Background: Covered esophageal self-expandable metal stents (SEMSs) are currently used for palliation of malignant dysphagia. The optimal extent of the covering to prevent recurrent obstruction is unknown. Therefore, we aimed to compare fully covered (FC) versus partially covered (PC) SEMSs in patients with incurable malignant esophageal stenosis.
Methods: In this multicenter randomized controlled trial, 98 incurable patients with dysphagia caused by a malignant stricture of the esophagus or cardia were randomized 1:1 to an FC-SEMS or PC-SEMS. The primary outcome was recurrent obstruction after endoscopic SEMS placement. Secondary outcomes were technical and clinical success, adverse events, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Patients were followed until 6 months after SEMS placement or to SEMS removal, second SEMS insertion, or death, whichever came first.
Results: Recurrent obstruction after SEMS placement was similar for both types of stents: 19 % for FC-SEMSs and 22 % for PC-SEMSs (P = 0.65). The times to recurrent obstruction did not differ. The frequency of adverse events was similar between the two groups, with major adverse events occurring in 38 % and 47 % of patients for FC-SEMSs and PC-SEMSs, respectively (P = 0.34). No significant differences were seen in technical success, improvement of dysphagia, and HRQoL. Proximal esophageal stenosis and female sex were independently associated with recurrent obstruction and/or major adverse events.
Conclusions: Esophageal FC-SEMSs did not reveal a lower recurrent obstruction rate compared with PC-SEMSs in the palliative management of malignant dysphagia.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study of post-treatment oral cavity cancer (OCC) patients was to identify factors associated with self-reported overall body image, perceived attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with body appearance.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study recruited patients with OCC from the outpatient radiation department of a single cancer center in northern Taiwan. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded, and patients were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), the University of Washington Quality of Life scale (UW-QOL), and the Body Image Scale (BIS).
RESULTS: A total of 168 patients were included in this current study, 76 females and 92 males. Negative overall body image was associated with greater degree of depression, greater fear of social interactions, poorer social-emotional function, receipt of surgery, female gender, and greater avoidance of social interaction; these factors explained 49.0% of the variance in this outcome measure. Poor perceived attractiveness was associated with greater depression, greater fear of social interaction, and receipt of surgery; these factors explained 25.4% of the variance in this outcome measure. Dissatisfaction with body appearance was associated with poor social-emotional function, greater fear of social interaction, receipt of reconstruction, advanced cancer stage, and female gender; these factors explained 52.2% of the variance in this outcome measure.
CONCLUSIONS: This study of post-treatment OCC patients indicated that depression and fear of social interaction strongly influenced overall body image, perceived attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with body appearance.
Only a few cases of esophageal granulocyte-colony-stimulating-factor (G-CSF)-producing esophageal carcinosarcoma are reported, and patients with G-CSF-producing tumors are typically considered to have poor prognosis. An 89-year-old man was examined for low-grade fever and dysphagia. Chest computed tomography revealed a huge 80-mm tumor on the thoracic esophagus without direct invasion to surrounding organs. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) showed a huge mass occupying the esophageal lumen with a superficial flat lesion. Histopathological examination revealed that the tumor was composed of bizarre giant cells and pleomorphic spindle cells with hyperchromatic nuclei. Laboratory data showed aberrant elevation of leukocyte and neutrophil counts and G-CSF levels. The tumor was finally diagnosed as a G-CSF-producing esophageal carcinosarcoma, stage II (T2N0M0, Union for International Cancer Control-TNM Classification of Malignant Tumors, 8th edition). Considering his general condition, we performed palliative radiotherapy (45 Gy/15 fr) alone after consultation with surgeons and radiation oncologists. Follow-up EGD demonstrated the disappearance of the tumor, and the histological assessment of biopsy specimens confirmed no evidence of malignancy. The leukocyte count and G-CSF levels decreased within normal range. This is a very rare case of G-CSF-producing esophageal carcinosarcoma in which a pathologically complete response was achieved using palliative radiotherapy alone.
Background: Hospice and end-of-life health care utilization among patients with esophageal cancer are understudied. We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database to analyze hospice use and end-of-life treatment patterns.
Methods: We included patients diagnosed with esophageal adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma between 2000 and 2011 and who had died by December 31, 2013. We evaluated patterns of hospice enrollment, chemotherapy receipt, radiation receipt, acute care hospitalizations, and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions at end of life. We used multivariate logistic regression to evaluate possible associations with hospice use, late ICU admission, and late chemotherapy receipt.
Results: Our study included 6449 patients; 3597 (55.8%) enrolled in hospice. Among hospice enrolled patients, 31.4% enrolled in the last 7 days of life. Hospice enrollment increased over time, from 43.2% in 2000 to 59.6% in 2013. Patients who were older, female, with stage IV disease, or those with higher socioeconomic status were more likely to enroll in hospice. Among all patients, 19.1% had an ICU admission within the last 30 days and 4.6% received chemotherapy within the last 14 days of life. Those who were Black or Asian (compared to White), married, or had a comorbidity score >1 were more likely to have a late ICU admission. Males and younger patients were more likely to receive chemotherapy at end of life.
Conclusion: Hospice enrollment rates among patients with esophageal cancer have increased over time; however, a significant percentage of patients enrolls near the end of life. Further research is needed to improve understanding of how end-of-life care decisions for these patients are made.
Approximately half of the patients with esophageal cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage with inoperable disease. The technique of bypass surgery, which is one of the palliative procedures for esophageal cancer, usually requires the insertion of a drainage tube for clearing secretions from the blind remnant esophagus. Since the artificial drainage tube is sometimes problematic for the patient after discharge from the hospital, drainage tubeless (DRESS) surgery might be preferable. The authors demonstrated the utility of DRESS bypass surgery by adding esophagostomy in the right supraclavicular region in three patients with unresectable esophageal cancer with and without esophago-respiratory fistula. All patients had been able to take per-orally and discharged the hospital. Two of three patients are alive with per-oral intake at 1 year later. This DRESS bypass surgery technique, which has not hardly reported in the literature, could release the patients from the tube trouble after the discharge from the hospital and give the patients the better quality of life.
Palliation of dysphagia is the cornerstone of palliative treatment in patients with incurable oesophageal cancer. Available palliative options for dysphagia are oesophageal stent placement and radiotherapy. In general, oesophageal stent placement is the preferred therapeutic option in patients with a relatively poor prognosis because of its rapid relief of dysphagia. Regardless of ongoing technical developments, recurrence of dysphagia and stent-related complications are still occurring. For patients with a relatively good prognosis, intra-luminal brachytherapy is advised because of its sustained palliation of dysphagia. Due to limited availability of intra-luminal brachytherapy in clinical practice, fractionated external beam radiation therapy is commonly applied as an alternative. Selection of the optimal palliative approach for patients remains however challenging as conclusive high-quality evidence is limited. Moreover, with the introduction of new palliative treatment options (e.g. palliative chemotherapeutic and radiotherapeutic options) and the concurrent change of patient characteristics, supporting evidence from large randomised studies is warranted.
A 62-year-old female patient diagnosed with oesophageal adenocarcinoma underwent radical treatment consisting of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and oesophagectomy with no major complications. Eleven months later, she re-presented with a mass at one of the chest drain sites. A PET-CT scan and biopsy demonstrated this to be a single recurrence of the oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Excision of the metastatic lesion was considered as per metachronous single site metastasis. However, the operation was postponed due to acute kidney injury. Restaging after 6 weeks revealed progressive metastatic disease. The patient underwent palliative therapy and passed away soon after. Oesophageal cancer recurrence has a very poor prognosis, and factors such as the disease-free interval, site of recurrence and tumour pathological factors must be considered when stratifying for suitability for metastasectomy. A period of watchful waiting followed by restaging is essential to rule out patients with indolent metastatic disease.
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: Malignant dysphagia is difficulty swallowing resulting from esophageal obstruction due to cancer. The goal of palliative treatment is to reduce the dysphagia and improve oral dietary intake. Self-expandable metallic stents are the current treatment of choice, given that they enable the immediate restoration of oral intake. The aim of the present study was to describe the results of using totally covered and partially covered esophageal stents for palliating esophageal cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted on patients with inoperable esophageal cancer treated with self-expandable metallic stents. The 2 groups formed were: group A, which consisted of patients with a fully covered self-expandable stent (SX-ELLA®), and group B, which was made up of patients with a partially covered self-expandable stent (Ultraflex®).
RESULTS: Of the 69-patient total, 50 were included in the study. Group A had 19 men and 2 women and their mean age was 63.6 years (range 41-84). Technical success was achieved in 100% (n=21) of the cases and clinical success in 90.4% (n=19). Group B had 24 men and 5 women and their mean age was 67.5 years (range 43-92). Technical success was achieved in 100% (n=29) of the cases and clinical success in 89.6% (n=26). Complications were similar in both groups (33.3 vs. 51.7%).
CONCLUSION: There was no difference between the 2 types of stent for the palliative treatment of esophageal cancer with respect to technical success, clinical success, or complications.
Oral cancers are one of the most common cancers in India. These patients have pain during the course of the disease. Various drugs including opioid and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug have been used to manage pain. However, these are associated with side effects such as constipation and vomiting. An early interventional block may decrease the requirement for analgesics and improve the overall quality of life. We describe a case of oral carcinoma successfully managed with ultrasound-guided pterygopalatine block.
Background: A short course of radiotherapy is commonly prescribed for palliative relief of malignant dysphagia in patients with incurable oesophageal cancer. We compared chemoradiotherapy with radiotherapy alone for dysphagia relief in the palliative setting.
Methods: This multicentre randomised controlled trial included patients with advanced or metastatic oesophageal cancer who were randomly assigned (1:1) through a computer-generated adaptive biased coin design to either palliative chemoradiotherapy or radiotherapy alone for treatment of malignant dysphagia at 22 hospitals in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. Eligible patients had biopsy-proven oesophageal cancer that was unsuitable for curative treatment, symptomatic dysphagia, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0–2, and adequate haematological and renal function. Patients were stratified by hospital, dysphagia score (Mellow scale 1–4), and presence of metastases. The radiotherapy dose was 35 Gy in 15 fractions over 3 weeks for patients in Australia and New Zealand and 30 Gy in ten fractions over 2 weeks for patients in Canada and the UK. Chemotherapy consisted of one cycle of intravenous cisplatin (either 80 mg/m2 on day 1 or 20 mg/m2 per day on days 1–4 of radiotherapy at clinician's discretion) and intravenous fluorouracil 800 mg/m2 per day on days 1–4 of radiotherapy in week 1. Patients were assessed weekly during treatment. The primary endpoint was dysphagia relief (defined as =1 point reduction on the Mellow scale at 9 weeks and maintained 4 weeks later), and key secondary endpoints were dysphagia progression-free survival (defined as a worsening of at least 1 point on the Mellow scale from baseline or best response) and overall survival. These endpoints were analysed in the intention-to-treat population. This study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00193882. This trial is closed.
Findings: Between July 7, 2003, and March 21, 2012, 111 patients were randomly assigned to chemoradiotherapy and 109 patients to radiotherapy. One patient in the chemoradiotherapy group was omitted from analysis because of ineligibility. 50 (45%, 95% CI 36–55) patients in the chemoradiotherapy group and 38 (35%, 26–44) in the radiotherapy group obtained dysphagia relief (difference 10·6%, 95% CI -2 to 23; p=0·13). Median dysphagia progression-free survival was 4·1 months (95% CI 3·5–4·8) versus 3·4 months (3·1–4·3) in the chemoradiotherapy and radiotherapy groups, respectively (p=0·58), and median overall survival was 6·9 months (95% CI 5·1–8·3) versus 6·7 months (4·9–8·0), respectively (p=0·88). Of the 211 patients who commenced radiotherapy, grade 3–4 acute toxicity occurred in 38 (36%) patients in the chemoradiotherapy group and in 17 (16%) patients in the radiotherapy group (p=0·0017). Anaemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, oesophagitis, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, and mucositis were significantly worse in patients who had chemoradiotherapy than in patients who had radiotherapy.
Interpretation: Palliative chemoradiotherapy showed a modest, but not statistically significant, increase in dysphagia relief compared with radiotherapy alone, with minimal improvement in dysphagia progression-free survival and overall survival with chemoradiotherapy but at a cost of increased toxicity. A short course of radiotherapy alone should be considered a safe and well tolerated treatment for malignant dysphagia in the palliative setting.
Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group, and Cancer Australia
Les difficultés de communication avec les cancéreux ORL en phase terminale sont beaucoup plus importantes qu'avec d'autres malades en raison de l'altération de la parole. Les dossiers des services cliniques sont pauvres à ce sujet et rendent compte de la façon très imparfaite de situations vécues par les équipes soignantes. Les auteurs dégagent les facteurs limitant la communication : douleurs, disparition de la voix, déformation de la physionomie qui renforcent l'idée de déchéance, le terrain psychologique et socio-familial particulier de ces malades. Ils envisagent les différents moyens de la communication verbale et non verbale pour maintenir la relation soigné-soignant en les replaçant dans le cadre de la présence auprès des malades depuis le début de la maladie.