Structural Variations in Parotid Glands Induced by Radiation Therapy in Patients with Oral Carcinoma Observed on Contrast-Enhanced Computed Tomography
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Publication date: 2018-02-02
Pol J Radiol, 2017; 82: 561-566
Background: Xerostomia is one of the commonest radiation-induced complications in patients with head and neck carcinoma. The aim of this study was to assess structural variations in parotid glands induced by radiation therapy in patients with oral carcinoma with contras-enhanced computed tomography (CECT).
Material/Methods: A retrospective study was performed in 41 patients with oral carcinoma who underwent CECT for head and neck malignancies before and after radiotherapy. We analyzed the relationship between parotid density variations, parotid volume change, as seen on CECT, and the mean radiation dose applied to the parotid glands in patients with oral carcinoma immediately after radiotherapy, and 2 and 3 years later.
Results: Immediately after radiotherapy, high-density changes on contrast-enhanced CT were observed in 70.5% of the irradiated parotids. Low-density changes due to fat degeneration were seen in 46.2% and 72.2% of the irradiated parotids 2 and 3 years after radiotherapy, respectively. The mean dose applied to the parotids with the low-density changes and without such changes 3 years after radiotherapy was 46.0 Gy and 27.7 Gy, respectively (p=0.049). Furthermore, parotid shrinkage was observed in 63.6% of the irradiated parotids.
Conclusions: This study suggests that the structural variations in parotid glands induced by radiotherapy included high-density changes that were observed immediately after radiotherapy and low- density changes that were seen at late follow-up. This study should be useful for clinicians in the assessment of radiation-induced injuries in the parotids with respect to early prediction of xerostomia.
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