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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Journal of Contemporary Brachytherapy, Volume 10, Issue 5, October 2018, Pages 454-462.

The published version is available at Copyright © Rodin et al.


Purpose: To review brachytherapy use in recurrent head and neck carcinoma (RHNC) with focus on its efficacy and complication rates.

Material and methods: A literature search of PubMed, Ovid, Google Scholar, and Scopus was conducted from 1990 to 2017. Publications describing treatment of RHNC with brachytherapy with or without surgery were included. The focus of this review is on oncologic outcomes and the safety of brachytherapy in the recurrent setting.

Results: Thirty studies involving RHNC treatment with brachytherapy were reviewed. Brachytherapy as adjunctive treatment to surgical resection appears to be associated with an improved local regional control and overall survival, when compared with the published rates for re-irradiation utilizing external beam radiotherapy (RT) or brachytherapy alone. Safety data remains variable with different isotopes and dose rates with implantable brachytherapy demonstrating a tolerable side effect profile.

Conclusions: Although surgery remains a mainstay treatment for RHNC, intraoperative interstitial brachytherapy delivery as adjunctive therapy may improve the treatment outcome and may be associated with fewer complication rates as compared to reirradiation using external beam radiotherapy. Further investigations are required to elucidate the role of brachytherapy for RHNC.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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