Boron Neutron Capture Therapy in the Treatment of Locally Recurred Head and Neck Cancer

Leena Kankaanranta, Tiina Seppälä, Hanna Koivunoro, Kauko Saarilahti, Timo Atula, Juhani Collan, Eero Salli, Mika Kortesniemi, Jouni Uusi-Simola, Antti Mäkitie, Marko Seppänen, Heikki Minn, Petri Kotiluoto, Iiro Auterinen, Sauli Savolainen, Mauri Kouri, Heikki Joensuu (Corresponding Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    135 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Head and neck carcinomas that recur locally after conventional irradiation pose a difficult therapeutic problem. We evaluated safety and efficacy of boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) in the treatment of such cancers. Methods and Materials: Twelve patients with inoperable, recurred, locally advanced (rT3, rT4, or rN2) head and neck cancer were treated with BNCT in a prospective, single-center Phase I-II study. Prior treatments consisted of surgery and conventionally fractionated photon irradiation to a cumulative dose of 56-74 Gy administered with or without concomitant chemotherapy. Tumor responses were assessed using the RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) criteria and adverse effects using the National Cancer Institute common toxicity grading v3.0. Intravenously administered boronophenylalanine-fructose (BPA-F, 400 mg/kg) was used as the boron carrier. Each patient was scheduled to be treated twice with BNCT. Results: Ten patients received BNCT twice; 2 were treated once. Ten (83%) patients responded to BNCT, and 2 (17%) had tumor growth stabilization for 5.5 and 7.6 months. The median duration of response was 12.1 months; six responses were ongoing at the time of analysis or death (range, 4.9-19.2 months). Four (33%) patients were alive without recurrence with a median follow-up of 14.0 months (range, 12.8-19.2 months). The most common acute adverse effects were mucositis, fatigue, and local pain; 2 patients had a severe (Grade 3) late adverse effect (xerostomia, 1; dysphagia, 1). Conclusions: Boron neutron capture therapy is effective and safe in the treatment of inoperable, locally advanced head and neck carcinomas that recur at previously irradiated sites.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)475-482
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Boron neutron capture therapy
    • Boronophenylalanine
    • Head and neck cancer
    • Positron emission tomography
    • Radiotherapy


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