|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 847-848
Authors' reply to Hanasoge et al. and Srinivas et al
Richa Chauhan, Vinita Trivedi
Department of Radiotherapy, Mahavir Cancer Sansthan, Patna, Bihar, India
|Date of Submission||17-Oct-2020|
|Date of Decision||20-Oct-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||20-Oct-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||25-Dec-2020|
House N. N/35, Professor's Colony, Kankarbagh, Patna - 800 020, Bihar
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Chauhan R, Trivedi V. Authors' reply to Hanasoge et al. and Srinivas et al. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:847-8
We thank Hanasoge and Stokes and Srinivas et al. for perusing our article on the practice of radiotherapy during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and drawing our attention to many pertinent points., We agree that as our study presents data from a single cancer center, the results cannot be generalized. It was an effort to compile the real-world data from our center with the hope that it could be included in a larger database from the region. The suggestion for additional information on overall treatment time and other details for patients with head-and-neck and cervical cancers by Srinivas et al. is well noted and will be incorporated in further site-wise analyses for the four common cancer types seen in our patients, namely head-and-neck, cervical, breast, and gastrointestinal cancers.
A better compliance rate seen during the pandemic (after excluding the patients who did not start radiotherapy) was surprising even for us. A possible reason could be that the local patients who turned up for radiotherapy were motivated to complete their cancer treatment. In addition, during this period, we also treated many patients who had returned from other centers in the metropolitan cities as our center had comparatively fewer cases of COVID-19. Moreover, the use of single-fraction palliative radiotherapy that allowed for treatment completion on the same day also could have contributed to the increased compliance.
We agree with the comments of Hanasoge et al. that the use of hypofractionated radiotherapy has its own radiobiological advantages and reduces the number of hospital visits for the patients. We use the 3-week hypofractionated radiation protocol 40 Gy/15 fractions routinely in all patients with breast cancer. However, we have our reservations regarding the use of the more extreme hypofractionated 1-week radiation protocol used in the landmark FAST-FORWARD trial as our patient cohort was considerably different from that included in the study. The FAST-FORWARD trial included patients with early breast cancer in whom nodal radiotherapy was not allowed, and 93.3% of the patients had undergone a breast-conserving surgery requiring only whole-breast radiation. In contrast, most of our patients had locally advanced disease and underwent modified radical mastectomy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, requiring nodal radiation to the supraclavicular fossa along with chest wall irradiation.
We were in the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of this study, as defined in the recent ASTRO-ESTRO guidelines for head-and-neck cancers. There was a strong agreement among the participants contributing to the ASTRO-ESTRO recommendations favoring no change in the fractionation schedule during the early phase of the pandemic. Similarly, we also continued with the pre-pandemic fractionation schedule for patients with head-and-neck cancer requiring adjuvant or radical radiation. We were also concerned about the increased need for nasogastric feeding tube placement or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy in case the patients experienced higher toxicities to concurrent chemotherapy and hypofractionated radiotherapy.
We agree with Hanasoge et al. and follow a similar protocol for patients requiring palliative radiotherapy during the pandemic. They are prioritized and given abbreviated treatment courses as soon as possible.
We would like to thank the Department of Radiotherapy, Mahavir Cancer Sansthan, Patna.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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