A new study indicates that for patients with head and neck cancer, twice-daily radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy could save more lives. Presented at the European Cancer Congress 2017 in Amsterdam, the research revealed that the twice-a-day treatment of hyperfractionated radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy cuts deaths by 20% compared to once-daily radiotherapy with chemotherapy.
Lead researcher Claire Petit, a radiation oncologist who practices in Paris, said in a news release, "There are a number of new treatments that have shown promise in head and neck cancer trials. This large study has enabled us to compare several of these treatments to see which is best overall in terms of reducing mortality."
The researchers analyzed data from more than 100 different trials that included nearly 29,000 patients from around the world. The study compared 16 different treatments to find out which was best at reducing the spread of cancer and related deaths. Researchers found the regimen also reduced the risk of the cancer getting worse by 23%.
"This is an important finding for this group of patients who have a higher risk of their cancer recurring following treatment," Petit said. According to the news release, around 600,000 people are diagnosed with head and neck cancers worldwide each year.