Correlating planned radiation dose to the cochlea with primary site and tumor stage in patients with head and neck cancer treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy.
The aim of the study was to determine tumor characteristics that predict higher planned radiation (RT) dose to the cochlea in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). From 2004 to 2012, 99 patients with HNC underwent definitive IMRT to a median dose of 69.96Gy in 33 fractions, with the right and left cochlea-vestibular apparatus contoured for IMRT optimization as avoidance structures. If disease involvement was adjacent to the cochlea, preference was given to tumor coverage by prescription dose. Descriptive statistics were calculated for dose-volume histogram planning data, and mean planning dose to the cochlea (from left or right cochlea, receiving the greater amount of RT dose) was correlated to primary site and tumor stage. Mean (standard deviation) cochlear volume was 1.0 (0.60)cm(3) with maximum and mean planned doses of 31.9 (17.5)Gy and 22.1 (13.7)Gy, respectively. Mean planned dose (Gy) to cochlea by tumor site was as follows: oral cavity (18.6, 14.4), oropharynx (21.7, 9.1), nasopharynx (36.3, 10.4), hypopharynx (14.9, 7.1), larynx (2.1, 0.62), others including the parotid gland, temporal bone, and paranasal sinus (33.6, 24.0), and unknown primary (25.6, 6.7). Average mean planned dose (Gy) to the cochlea in T0-T2 and T3-T4 disease was 22.0 and 29.2Gy, respectively (p = 0.019). By site, a significant difference was noted for nasopharynx and others (31.6 and 50.7, p = 0.012) but not for oropharynx, oral cavity, and hypopharynx. Advanced T category predicted for higher mean cochlear dose, particularly for nasopharyngeal, parotid gland, temporal bone, and paranasal sinus HNC sites.