Acute xerostomia in head and neck radiotherapy

Dalya S. A. Al-Nuaimi, Khudair J. Al-Rawaq, Ali G. M. Noori, Marwa A. N. Fattah


Background: Xerostomia is a common complaint experienced with radiotherapy to the head and neck and it is caused by salivary glands dysfunction.

Methods: Xerostomia is a common complaint experienced with radiotherapy to the head and neck and it is caused by salivary glands dysfunction.  

Results: The mean age was 51.69±13.7 years; 67% were men and 33% were women. Nasopharyngeal tumor and larynx cancer were the common tumors diagnosed (29% and 28% respectively), 78% of the tumors were squamous cell carcinoma and 53% of them in stage III. Most patients didn’t take chemotherapy during radiotherapy (90%), while 68% of them have previously received chemotherapy. The mean dose of radiotherapy used was 63.2±9.65 Gray. Post radiotherapy, the highest proportion diagnosed with xerostomia grade I (37%), while 21% of them were free of xerostomia. Female, negative past medical history, site, stage and dose of radiation were associated factors that increased prevalence of xerostomia.

Conclusions: After radiotherapy, there is a high chance for developing xerostomia. Females, negative past medical history, advanced stage of tumor, high dose of radiation and site of tumor (oral, nasopharyngeal, and parotid) were significantly associated factors. Tumor site was a significant factor associated with the grade of xerostomia.


Xerostomia, Radiotherapy, Salivary gland dysfunction, Head and neck cancer

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