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Do palliative embolization in unresectable, unsalvageable recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer patients help?

In European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
By: Shetty N.
Contributor(s): Menon N | Thiagarajan S [Corresponding Author] | Sawhney S | Kulkarni S | Chaukar D.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: 2021Description: .Subject(s): Embolization | Head and neck cancer | Metastatic | Palliative | Recurrent In: European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology [Epub ahead of print]Summary: Abstract Background: Bleeding from the unsalvageable recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer is not an uncommon occurrence. It is extremely distressing for the patients and their family members and also to the treating doctors. One of the ways to manage this crisis is by selective embolization of the bleeding vessel. Methodology: In this retrospective study, we audited the patients with unresectable, unsalvageable recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer who underwent selective (palliative) embolization for bleeding at our institute between Jan 2015 and Nov 2019, and assessed its possible benefit in terms of bleeding free interval achieved. Results: Twenty-six palliative embolization was done during the above mentioned period. The majority were male patients (n = 23, 88.4%) with a median age of 54.5 years. The performance status (PS) of most patients was 2 (n = 15, 57.6%). The most common bleeding vessel was the external carotid artery or one of its branches, most commonly lingual artery (n = 5). The bleeding vessel was identified and embolized with PVA/gel foam/coil/glue. All the procedures were uneventful. Out of 26 patients, 3 patients had another bleeding episode subsequently. Most patients had 20 days to 21 months of bleeding free interval. The cost involved in the procedure was between 400 and 2100 US dollars. Conclusions: Selective embolization is an option to be considered in certain patients with unresectable, unsalvageable recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer, when they present with sudden and massive bleeding to the emergency department, at centres where the facility and expertise for this procedure might be available.
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Address for Corresponding Author: drshiva78in@gmail.com

Abstract
Background: Bleeding from the unsalvageable recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer is not an uncommon occurrence. It is extremely distressing for the patients and their family members and also to the treating doctors. One of the ways to manage this crisis is by selective embolization of the bleeding vessel.

Methodology: In this retrospective study, we audited the patients with unresectable, unsalvageable recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer who underwent selective (palliative) embolization for bleeding at our institute between Jan 2015 and Nov 2019, and assessed its possible benefit in terms of bleeding free interval achieved.

Results: Twenty-six palliative embolization was done during the above mentioned period. The majority were male patients (n = 23, 88.4%) with a median age of 54.5 years. The performance status (PS) of most patients was 2 (n = 15, 57.6%). The most common bleeding vessel was the external carotid artery or one of its branches, most commonly lingual artery (n = 5). The bleeding vessel was identified and embolized with PVA/gel foam/coil/glue. All the procedures were uneventful. Out of 26 patients, 3 patients had another bleeding episode subsequently. Most patients had 20 days to 21 months of bleeding free interval. The cost involved in the procedure was between 400 and 2100 US dollars.

Conclusions: Selective embolization is an option to be considered in certain patients with unresectable, unsalvageable recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer, when they present with sudden and massive bleeding to the emergency department, at centres where the facility and expertise for this procedure might be available.

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