The objective of this study was to correlate changes in computed tomography perfusion (CTP) parameters in the oropharyngeal mucosa following start of radiotherapy (RT) with acute mucositis in head and neck cancer patients.
Fifteen patients were prospectively evaluated with serial CTP imaging. Computed tomography perfusion studies were obtained before RT; at weeks 2, 4, and 6 during RT; and 6 weeks after completion of RT.
At week 2 during RT, mean transition time increased to 13.9% and 261.8% in patients with and without mucositis, respectively (P = 0.024). At week 6 of RT, patients with grade 3 mucositis had a 325.4% increase in blood flow compared with a 58.3% increase in patients with grade 0–2 mucositis (P = 0.039). Mean transition time decreased by 29.9% and increased by 187.4% in patients with grade 3 and grade 0–2 mucositis, respectively (P = 0.025).
Mean transition time and blood flow changes in the oropharyngeal mucosa correlated with the incidence and severity of RT-related mucositis.