Histopathological Changes in Parotid and Submandibular Glands of Patients Treated with Preoperative Chemoradiation Therapy for Oral Cancer

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We retrospectively evaluated the relationship between computed tomography (CT)- and histopathological findings of parotid and submandibular glands in six patients treated for advanced oral cancer. Eligibility criteria were a pathologic diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma, preoperative chemoradiation therapy (CRT) with a total dose of 30 Gy and oral S-1 (80 mg/m<sup>2</sup>/day), the availability of morphological assessments by CT and of functional assessments with the Saxon test before- and 2 weeks after CRT, and the availability of histopathological slides of irradiated parotid and submandibular glands. In the histopathological interpretation, gland structures were divided into acinar-, duct-, and adipose cells and other tissues. The Mann-Whitney test and the Spearman rank correlation test were used to determine histopathological changes. After 30-Gy irradiation, saliva production and parotid and submandibular volumes were significantly decreased (P < 0.05 each). Histopathological analysis demonstrated that 30-Gy irradiation resulted in a loss of acinar cells although acinar cells in the submandibular gland were relatively retained; the median acinar rate in the parotid and submandibular glands was 1.1% and 19.0%, respectively. The CT values after CRT were inversely correlated with adipose ratios (r = –0.98, P < 0.01) and there was a strong correlation between CT values before and after CRT (r = 0.97, P < 0.01). Our results suggested that acinar cell loss is a main contributor to changes in the volume and function of irradiated human parotid and submandibular glands. The CT value may reflect the adipose ratio rather than salivary function.


  • Journal of Radiation Research

    Journal of Radiation Research 53(3), 492-496, 2012

    Journal of Radiation Research Editorial Committee


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