Re-irradiation of recurrent head and neck cancers using pulsed reduced dose rate radiotherapy: An institutional series

Romy Megahed, Arpan V. Prabhu, Delanie P. Mack, Somayeh Gholami, Santanu Samanta, Mausam Patel, Gary D. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Purpose/Objective(s): Pulsed reduced dose rate (PRDR) radiation (RT) is a re-irradiation (Re-RT) technique that potentially overcomes dose/volume constraints in the setting of previous RT. There is minimal data for its use for recurrent or secondary primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). In this study, we report preliminary data from our institution of a consecutive cohort of HNSCC patients who received PRDR Re-RT. Materials/Methods: Nine patients received PRDR Re-RT from August 2020 to January 2023 and had analyzable data. Intensity modulated RT was used for treatment delivery and a wait time between 20 cGy arc/helical deliveries was used to achieve the effective low dose rate. Data collected included patient demographic information, prior interventions, diagnosis, radiation therapy dose and fractionation, progression free survival, overall survival, and toxicity rates. Results: The median time to PRDR-RT from completion of initial RT was 13 months (range, 6–50 months). All but one patient underwent salvage surgery prior to PRDR-RT. The median follow-up after Re-RT was 7 months. The median OS from PRDR-RT was 7 months (range, 1–32 months). Median PFS was 7 months (range, 1–32 months). One patient (11.1 %) had acute grade 3 toxicity, and two patients (22.2 %) had late grade 3 toxicities. There were no grade 4+ toxicities. Conclusion: PRDR Re-RT is a feasible treatment strategy for patients with recurrent or second primary HNSCC. Initial findings from this retrospective review suggest reasonable survival outcomes and potentially improved toxicity; prospective data is needed to establish the safety and efficacy of this technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106778
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Re-irradiation
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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