Indexed on: 03 May '08Published on: 03 May '08Published in: The Journal of laryngology and otology
Radiotherapy is an important treatment modality for head and neck tumours. One of its major drawbacks is post-treatment salivary gland hypofunction. This study was performed to objectively evaluate the salivary gland function in post-irradiated head and neck tumour patients.We performed a cross-sectional study of 30 patients with head and neck tumours who had received radiotherapy. Unstimulated and stimulated whole salivary flow rates were assessed in these 30 patients, and compared with those of 30 normal subjects. Unstimulated whole saliva was measured by the draining method, while the spitting method was used to collect stimulated whole saliva.Both unstimulated and stimulated whole salivary flow rates were significantly reduced in the irradiated patients, compared with the normal subjects. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.0001).Salivary function in post-irradiated head and neck tumour patients (assessed as salivary flow rates) was significantly reduced compared with normal controls, suggesting marked salivary gland hypofunction.