Vol 25, No 3 (2020)
Original research articles
Published online: 2020-05-01

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Predicting toxicity for head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy: an independent and external validation of MDASI-HN based nomogram

Nishant Vidyasagar1, Janaki Manur Gururajachar
DOI: 10.1016/j.rpor.2020.03.005
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2020;25(3):355-359.



We conducted a study to validate the MDASI-HN based nomogram, which is used to predict the acute toxicities in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy.


Tolerance to radiation varies from patient to patient and also depends on various other factors like tumor volume, dose of radiation, chemotherapy. Predicting the toxicities allow us to identify potential candidates who are likely to have a higher toxicity and, in addition, evaluates the nomogram when done on an independent group of patients.

Materials and Methods

Sixty biopsy confirmed head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation were the subjects of the study. The patients completed patient reported outcome instrument (PRO) MDASI-HN questionnaire at the beginning and at the fifth week of radiation. The baseline score obtained was used to obtain the predicted score using nomogram. The nomogram was also externally validated as per the TRIPOD guidelines.


The mean baseline, predicted and score at the fifth week were 27.28±11.04, 73.33±15.51 and 82.62±17.67, respectively, for all sub-sites. A positive, significant correlation (p<0.01) between the predicted score and the score at the fifth week was seen across all sub sites such as Oral cavity (p=0.05), Oropharynx (p=0.02), Hypo pharynx (p=0.02) and Larynx (p=0.02).


The MDASI-HN questionnaire based nomogram is simple, easily doable and takes into consideration the initial symptoms as well the treatment details; thereby, it is able to predict the toxicities accurately.

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Reports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy