Objectives: To determine the prevalence of radiation-induced carotid stenosis, in patients who were treated for head and neck malignancies, using colour-flow duplex scanning. Design: Prospective controlled study at a single medical centre. Participants: We enrolled two groups of patients. The first (radiotherapy group) consisted of patients who received surgical treatment and adjuvant radiotherapy of the neck. The control group consisted of patients with head and neck malignancies who received only surgical treatment. Main outcome measures: All patients were evaluated with carotid artery ecoDoppler imaging 1 week before and 36 months after the surgical procedure. Intima-media thickness was measured bilaterally at the internal carotid artery and at the bifurcation. Carotid obstruction was classified as low (0-30%), moderate (31-49%) or severe (>= 50%). Results: The preoperative stenosis grade did not differ between groups. In 15/25 patients (60%) in the radiotherapy group, mild stenosis evolved to moderate stenosis, while only 6/37 (16%) of the controls did (P = 0.004). Additionally, 9/39 (23%) patients in the radiotherapy group progressed to severe stenosis compared with only 3/54 (6%) controls (P = 0.029). The overall evolution showed that stenosis worsened in 24/32 (62%) patients in the radiotherapy group and 9/54 (17%) patients in the control groups (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: These results highlight the need to study the long-term incidence of cerebrovascular events in these two different populations (radiation treated and surgically treated) to identify increased cerebrovascular morbidity.
Carotid stenosis after adjuvant cervical radiotherapy in patients with head and neck cancers: a prospective controlled study / Greco, Antonio; Gallo, Andrea; DE VIRGILIO, Armando; Marinelli, Caterina; Macri, GIAN FRANCO; Fusconi, Massimo; Pagliuca, Giulio; DE VINCENTIIS, Marco. - In: CLINICAL OTOLARYNGOLOGY. - ISSN 1749-4478. - STAMPA. - 37:5(2012), pp. 376-381. [10.1111/coa.12007]