BACKGROUND: The risk for osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the mandible is positively related to bone volume exposed to > ~ 60 Gy. We hypothesized that in combined treatment, surgery may also be a risk factor.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: The impact of mandibular surgery on ORN in locally disease-free IMRT cohorts was retrospectively analyzed.
RESULTS: Between October 2002 and October 2013, 531 of 715 patients with oral cavity cancer (OCC), mesopharyngeal cancer (MC), or salivary gland tumor were treated with the mandible bone exposed to ~ > 60 Gy (mean follow-up, 38 months; 7-143 months). Of the 531 patients, 36 developed ORN (7 %; 1.5 % with grade 3-4). The ORN rate in definitive IMRT MC (16/227) and in postoperative IMRT OCC patients with no mandibular surgery (3/46) was 7 % each; in OCC patients with mandibular surgery the rate was 29 % (15/60, p = 0.002). Marginal or periosteal bone resection was found to be a high risk factor (39 %, vs. 7 % followed by segmental or no resection, p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Marginal or periosteal bone resection of the mandible was identified as the highest ORN risk factor in our IMRT cohort.