Head/neck cancer: prophylactic antibiotics show benefit during chemoradiation

  • Ham JC & al.
  • Eur J Cancer
  • 6 Apr 2019

  • curated by Brian Richardson, PhD
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • Prophylactic antibiotics are associated with reduced hospitalization risk and lower treatment cost in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer (HNC) treated with chemoradiotherapy (CRT).

Why this matters

  • CRT is associated with high rates of acute toxicity, including pneumonia.

Key results

  • Patients who received prophylaxis and those who received standard care had similar rates of pneumonia (46.8% vs 45.8%; P=.54).
  • Prophylaxis was associated with lower rates of hospitalization (19.1% vs 39.6%; P=.03) and fever (10.9% vs 29.2%; P=.028) compared with standard care.
  • Prophylaxis was associated with an average reduction of €1425 per patient (P=.046) compared with standard care.

Study design

  • 95 patients with CRT-treated HNC, 48 in the standard care group and 47 in the prophylaxis group (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid), were included.
  • Funding: Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.

Limitations

  • Relatively low patient number.

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