Aspiration occurence during chemoradiation for head and neck cancer

Nam P. Nguyen, Herbert J. Smith, Suresh Dutta, Alan Alfieri, Debra North, Phuc D. Nguyen, L. E.E. Howard, Tomas Martinez, Claire Lemanski, Adir Ludin, Ly M. Nguyen, Sabah Sallah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Aim: To assess the risk of developing aspiration during chemoradiation for head and neck cancer. Patients and Methods: A retrospective review of 114 patients who underwent concurrent chemoradiation for locally advanced head and neck cancer was undertaken. Patients were determined as having aspiration if they had pneumonia on chest-X-ray (CXR) and/or had documented aspiration on the modified barium swallow (MBS) during their treatment. Results: Fifteen patients (13%) developed aspiration during chemoradiation. Twelve patients (10%) had aspiration demonstrated on CXR alone (9 patients) or combined with MBS (3 patients). Three patients (3%) had aspiration on MBS alone. Three of the six patients with aspiration observed on MBS had normal swallowing on their pretreatment MBS. All 15 patients had severe mucositis and neutropenia at the time of the aspiration. Despite broad-spectrum antibiotics and supportive care, six patients (5%) died. Conclusion: Aspiration may develop during chemoradiation for head and neck cancer because of radiation-induced altered swallow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1672
Number of pages4
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number3 B
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Aspiration
  • Chemoradiation
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Swallow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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