Early Mucosal Temperature Increases Predict Future Severe Mucositis in Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Small and early changes in mucosal surface temperature in patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck being treated with chemoradiotherapy may predict future severe mucositis, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

“We hypothesized that patients destined to display severe mucocutaneous toxicity will demonstrate greater alterations in thermal intensity early in therapy than identically treated counterparts,” noted Ezra Cohen, MD, of the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, and colleagues. Detection of these early changes using sensitive thermal imaging would allow identification of patients requiring more intensive supportive care.

They conducted baseline and weekly thermal imaging in 34 subjects. Changes in temperature of the oral mucous membranes compared with a reference area were calculated and corrected to grade of mucositis (temperature delta). A statistically significant positive association was observed between an early rise in the temperature delta and mucositis grade (P=0.03). Grade 3 mucositis was observed in 53% and dermatitis in 12% of patients. For every 1°C increase in the temperature delta, a 0.157 increase in average subsequent mucositis grade was found.

The Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium is sponsored by the American Head and Neck Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine.

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