Backgrounds and purpose: Radiation therapy is an important mode of treatment for patients with head and neck cancers, but some associated complications can reduce the quality of life. We investigated whether N-acetylcysteine inhalation therapy improved the quality of life of such patients. Materials and methods: We designed a prospective, non-randomized controlled multi-center study involving 10 institutions. We enrolled 120 patients (80 in the experimental group and 40 in the control group). Patients in the experimental group inhaled nebulized liquid N-acetylcysteine (2400 mg daily) for 8 weeks from the start of radiation therapy. Quality of life was assessed using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire H&N 35. Results: N-acetylcysteine inhalation was not associated with any side effect or discomfort. The reduction in painkiller use from the end of N-acetylcysteine inhalation therapy to the 1-month follow-up was greater in the experimental group than in the control group (P = 0.014). Dry mouth symptoms also improved significantly in the experimental group (P = 0.019). Conclusion: N-acetylcysteine inhalation improves the quality of life of patients with head and neck cancers who are receiving radiation therapy, without any specific side effect.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the research fund of Chungnam National University and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2019R1A2C1084125, 2019R1H1A2079938, 2019R1C1C1006453).
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
- Head and neck cancer
- Oral mucositis
- Quality of life
- Radiation therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research