Background: The aim of this multi-center phase II study was to clarify the clinical benefit of an opioid-based pain control program for head and neck cancer patients during chemoradiotherapy. Patients and methods: Head and neck cancer patients who were to receive definitive or postoperative chemoradiotherapy were enrolled. The opioid-based pain control program consisted of a three-step ladder, with basic regimens of:Step 1: acetaminophen at 500-1000 mg three times a day.Step 2: fast-acting morphine at 5 mg three times a day before meals for a single day.Step 3: long-acting morphine administered around-the-clock, with a starting dosage of 20 mg/day and no upper limit set in principle. The primary endpoint of this study was compliance with radiotherapy. Results: A total of 101 patients from 10 institutions were registered between February 2008 and May 2009 and included in the analysis. The major combination chemotherapy regimen was cisplatin alone (76%). The rate of completion of radiotherapy was 99% and the rate of unplanned breaks in radiotherapy was 13% (13/101, 90% confidence interval: 9.9-16.5%). Median maximum quantity of morphine used per day was 35 mg (range 0-150 mg). Conclusions: Use of a systematic pain control program may improve compliance with CRT.
- Head and neck cancer
- Supportive care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging