Prospective randomized clinical studies involving reirradiation: update of a systematic review
Material and methods Systematic review of trials published between 2015 and February 2023.
Results We reviewed 7 additional trials, most of which addressed reirradiation of head and neck or brain tumours. The median number of patients was 60. Mirroring the previous review, trial design, primary endpoints and statistical hypotheses varied widely. The updated results only impact on decision making for reirradiation of nasopharynx cancer and glioma. Patients with one of these diseases, as well as other head and neck cancers, may benefit from reirradiation-induced local control, e.g. in terms of progression-free survival. For the first time, hyperfractionated radiotherapy emerged as preferred option for recurrent, inoperable nasopharynx cancer. Despite better therapeutic ratio with hyperfractionation, serious toxicity remains a concern after high cumulative total doses. Randomized trials are still lacking for prostate cancer and other sites.
Conclusion Multicentric randomized trials on reirradiation are feasible and continue to refine the current standard of care for recurrent disease after previous radiotherapy. Ongoing prospective studies such as the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (ESTRO-EORTC) observational cohort ReCare (NCT: NCT03818503) will further shape the clinical practice of reirradiation.