Malin Berg, Camilla Hansson, Ewa Silander, Mogens Bove, Leif Johansson, Hedda Haugen Cange, Ingvar Bosaeus, Jan Nyman, Eva Hammerlid

A randomized study comparing the nutritional effects of radiotherapy with cetuximab versus cisplatin in patients with advanced head and neck cancer

  • Otorhinolaryngology

AbstractBackgroundHead and neck cancer (HNC) patients have a high risk of developing malnutrition. This randomized study aimed to compare the effect of weekly cisplatin or cetuximab combined with radiotherapy on weight loss at 3 months after treatment was started. Secondary outcomes were the prevalence of malnutrition using the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) criteria, feeding tube dependence and health related quality of life from a nutritional perspective.MethodsPatients from the ARTSCAN III study with advanced HNC were assessed for weight, body composition, enteral tube dependence and selected quality‐of‐life scores (EORTC QLQ‐C30 and QLQ‐H&N35) at diagnosis and 6 weeks 3, 6 and 12 months after treatment initiation.ResultsOf the 80 patients, 38 and 42 were randomized to receive cetuximab and cisplatin treatment, respectively. There was no significant difference in weight loss at 3 months between the two study groups. However, the cetuximab group had significantly less weight loss, fewer enteral feeding tubes and better physical functioning at the end of treatment but more pain‐related problems 3 months after treatment initiation. No differences between the groups were found at 6 and 12 months. The prevalence of malnutrition was not significantly different at any time point.ConclusionThe hypothesized benefit of concomitant treatment with cetuximab over cisplatin regarding the prevalence of malnutrition was not supported by this study.

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