Effect of Pretreatment Dysphagia on Postchemoradiation Swallowing Function in Head and Neck Cancer

Daniel Cates, Lisa M. Evangelista, Peter C. Belafsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Chemoradiation therapy (CRT) for head and neck cancer can have profound effects on swallowing function. Identification of risk factors for development of swallowing dysfunction after CRT may improve allocation of preventive strategies. The purpose of this study is to determine the association between pre-CRT dysphagia and post-CRT swallowing dysfunction. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Academic medical center. Methods: Patients with head and neck cancer were evaluated before and 3 months after CRT. Dysphagia was assessed with the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10). Swallowing dysfunction was evaluated by a videofluoroscopic swallow study and the Penetration-Aspiration Scale and swallowing safety was evaluated by the Functional Oral Intake Scale. The association between pre-CRT EAT-10 scores and post-CRT swallowing dysfunction was evaluated. Results: The mean ± SD post-CRT Functional Oral Intake Scale score was 6.5 ± 1.2 for individuals with a pre-CRT EAT-10 score <3 and 5.3 ± 1.9 for those with a pre-CRT EAT-10 score ≥3 (P <.001). The mean post-CRT Penetration-Aspiration Scale score was 2.2 ± 1.5 for individuals with a pre-CRT EAT-10 score <3 and 3.8 ± 2.6 for those with a pre-CRT EAT-10 score ≥3 (P <.001). After multivariate analysis adjusting for age, tumor subsite, T classification, and primary surgery, pre-CRT dysphagia (EAT-10 ≥3) was an independent predictor of post-CRT aspiration (odds ratio, 4.19 [95% CI, 1.08-16.20]; P =.04) and feeding tube dependence (odds ratio, 3.54 [95% CI, 1.01-12.33]; P =.04). Conclusion: The presence of dysphagia before chemoradiation for head and neck cancer is an independent predictor of swallowing dysfunction after completion of therapy. These results may help target intervention toward preventing swallowing dysfunction in high-risk individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • chemoradiation
  • dysphagia
  • EAT-10
  • Eating Assessment Tool
  • head and neck cancer
  • radiotherapy
  • swallowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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