Hypofractionated radiotherapy for the palliation of advanced head and neck cancer in patients unsuitable for curative treatment - "Hypo Trial"

Sandro V. Porceddu*, Brenda Rosser, Bryan H. Burmeister, Mark Jones, Brigid Hickey, Kacy Baumann, Kumar Gogna, Andrew Pullar, Michael Poulsen, Tanya Holt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: The primary purpose of the trial was to assess rate of tumour response to a hypofractionated course of radiotherapy in patients with incurable squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC). Secondary objectives included radiation toxicity, symptom control, quality of life (QoL) and progression-free and overall survival. Patients and methods: Patients were planned to receive 30 Gy in 5 fractions at 2/week, at least 3 days apart, with an additional boost of 6 Gy for small volume disease (≤3 cm) in suitable patients. Thirty-seven patients were enrolled between August 2004 and March 2006. Median age was 68 (43-87) years, 81% were male and the predominant primary site was oropharynx (32%). The majority (73%) presented with Stage III-IV disease. Results: Thirty-five patients received radiotherapy, 1 died prior to treatment and one refused treatment. Of the 35 patients receiving radiotherapy, 31 (88%) received ≥30 Gy. Of the 35 patients who received treatment the overall objective response was 80%. Grade 3 mucositis and dysphagia were experienced in 9/35 (26%) and 4/35 (11%), respectively. QoL and symptom control were assessable in 21 patients. Thirteen (62%) reported an overall improvement in QoL and 14 (67%) experienced an improvement in pain. The median time to progression and death was 3.9 and 6.1 months, respectively. Conclusion: The "Hypo Trial" regimen provided effective palliative treatment in HNSCC unsuitable for curative treatment. Compliance was excellent and resulted in high response rates, symptom control and improvement in QoL with acceptable toxicity. However, progression free and overall survival was short.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-462
Number of pages7
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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