The impact of dietary regimen compliance on outcomes for HNSCC patients treated with radiation therapy

Rafi Kabarriti, Amanda Bontempo, Maria Romano, Kevin P. McGovern, Alyssa Asaro, Shankar Viswanathan, Shalom Kalnicki, Madhur K. Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: To analyze nutritional factors and compliance with dietary recommendations for associations with overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients receiving definitive RT for laryngeal and oropharyngeal cancers. Materials/methods: We identified 352 patients with non-metastatic laryngeal (146) and oropharyngeal (206) cancer treated with definitive RT between 2004 and 2013. Disease and patient characteristics, treatment information, sarcopenia based on muscle areas at L3 level on CT, compliance with the nutritional program, and clinical outcomes data were tabulated. Descriptive statistics, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, and log rank tests were performed, and Cox regression models were used to examine predictors of OS and PFS. Results: The median follow-up for the entire cohort was 22.86 months. The actuarial rates for OS were 91, 86, and 73% at years 1, 2, and 5, respectively. Of patients with abdominal CT prior to starting RT, 70.9% (112/158) were sarcopenic with a median muscle mass index of 48.2 (range 30.4–70.9) for males and 35.9 (range 24.6–53.2) for females. The majority (85.8%) of patients met with a dietitian during their course of RT and 62.6% of these patients were compliant with the nutritional program. Compliance with the nutritional program resulted in 27% (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.43–1.26) protection from death (did not reach significance) and 31% (HR 0.69, 95% CI 0.50–0.94) significant protection from disease progression. Higher pretreatment BMI was associated with a lower risk of death (HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.90–0.99) and disease progression (HR 0.96, 95% CI 0.93–0.99). Conclusion: Laryngeal and oropharyngeal cancer patients treated with definitive RT who are compliant with regular dietetic counseling and contact appear to have improved outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3307-3313
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Compliance
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Nutrition
  • Radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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