OBJECTIVE: For patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), delays in the initiation of radiotherapy (RT) have been closely associated with worse outcomes. We sought to investigate whether RT modality (proton vs. photon) is associated with differences in the time to initiation of RT.METHODS: The National Cancer Database was queried for patients diagnosed with nonmetastatic HNSCC between 2004 and 2015 who received either proton or photon RT as part of their initial treatment. Wilcoxon rank-sum and chi-square tests were used to compare continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between use of proton RT and delayed RT initiation.RESULTS: A total of 175,088 patients with HNSCC receiving either photon or proton RT were identified. Patients receiving proton RT were more likely to be white, reside in higher income areas, and have private insurance. Proton RT was associated with delayed RT initiation compared to photon RT (median 59days vs. 45, P <0.001). Receipt of proton therapy was independently associated with RT initiation beyond 6weeks after diagnosis (adjusted OR [aOR, definitive RT] = 1.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.26-2.30) or surgery (aOR [adjuvant RT] = 4.08; 95% CI 2.64-6.62). In the context of adjuvant proton RT, increases in treatment delay were associated with worse overall survival (weeks, adjusted hazard ratio =1.099, 95% CI 1.011-1.194).CONCLUSION: Use of proton therapy is associated with delayed RT in both the definitive and adjuvant settings for patients with HNSCC and could be associated with poorer outcomes.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2b Laryngoscope, 122:0000-0000, 2019 Laryngoscope, 2019.
View details for DOI 10.1002/lary.28458
View details for PubMedID 31837165