Pre-therapeutic nutritional assessment for predicting severe adverse events in patients with head and neck cancer treated by radiotherapy

Takeyuki Kono, Koji Sakamoto, Seiichi Shinden, Kaoru Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Background & aims: Malnutrition is common in patients with head and neck cancer (HNSCC). It may be related to severe adverse toxicity as a result of radiotherapy. The aim was to investigate nutritional screening factors for severe adverse events. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 101 patients who underwent radiotherapy from 2009 to 2013 was performed. The relationships among severe adverse events and pretreatment nutritional parameters, including static variables (serum albumin, total protein, total lymphocyte counts, body mass index), dynamic variables (retinol-binding protein, transferrin, pre-albumin), and nutritional screening tools (Onodera's Prognostic Nutrition Index [O-PNI]; Nutrition Risk Index; Controlling Nutritional Status [CONUT] score; Nutritional Risk Screening 2002) were evaluated in addition to patient and treatment factors. Results: According to the static parameters, approximately 30% of patients were malnourished before treatment. Twenty-four patients exhibited severe adverse events. On univariate analysis, combined chemotherapy, advanced staging, O-PNI <40, and CONUT score ≥5 were significant predictors of severe adverse events. Multivariate analysis revealed that O-PNI <40 and combined chemotherapy independently predict severe adverse events. Conclusions: O-PNI is considered a useful nutritional factor for predicting severe adverse events in HNSCC patients undergoing chemoradiotherapy and facilitates the planning of aggressive nutritional interventions prior to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1685
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Nutrition
  • Radiotherapy
  • Screening
  • Severe adverse events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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