Vol 72, No 5 (2022)
Review paper
Published online: 2022-08-26

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Adjuvant radiotherapy post microvascular reconstructive surgery (MRS) for patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer – when and how?

Bogusław Maciejewski1, Małgorzata Stąpór-Fudzińska2, Daniel Bula3, Adam Maciejewski3, Łukasz Krakowczyk3, Agnieszka Niewczas4
Nowotwory. Journal of Oncology 2022;72(5):303-307.


For many decades palliation (radiotherapy, chemotherapy or symptomatic treatment) was the only therapeutic solu­tion for locally very advanced head and neck cancer. In the mid 70s, H. Buncke carried out pioneering microvascular reconstructive surgery (MRS) as a radical treatment. Since that time, the MRS has been accepted around the world as a successful radical therapy, not only for head and neck (H&N) cancers. A part of the H&N cancers need however post­-MRS radiotherapy (RT). Based on the 20 year experience of the Institute of Oncology in Gliwice with MRS (about 2500 patients), D. Bula has defined local recurrence risk factors. Dutch studies convincingly documented the prognostic value of the estimated molecular profiles of the resected margins as additional risk factors. The use of conventional 2.0 Gy/ fraction post-MRS-RT result in a high risk of the inserted reconstructive flap necrosis or rejection. Therefore, a novel IMRT­-VMAT technique with 50 Gy given in 1.5–1.6 Gy/fraction has been designed which allows to almost eliminate the flap from the irradiated volume and therefore minimizes recurrence and/or flap rejection to almost zero. The present paper shows objectively selected a cluster of patients being the candidate to post-MRS safe and effective VMAT radiotherapy.

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Nowotwory. Journal of Oncology