Mastication, swallowing, and salivary flow in patients with head and neck cancer: objective tests versus patient-reported outcomes

Jorine A. Vermaire, Cornelis P. J. Raaijmakers, Irma M. Verdonck-de Leeuw, Femke Jansen, C. René Leemans, Chris H. J. Terhaard, Caroline M. Speksnijder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Before and after treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC), many patients have problems with mastication, swallowing, and salivary flow. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between objective test outcomes of mastication, swallowing, and salivary flow versus patient-reported outcomes (PROs) measuring mastication-, swallowing-, and salivary flow–related quality of life. Methods: Data of the prospective cohort “Netherlands Quality of Life and Biomedical Cohort Study” was used as collected before treatment, and 3 and 6 months after treatment. Spearman’s rho was used to test the association between objective test outcomes of the mixing ability test (MAT) for masticatory performance, the water-swallowing test (WST) for swallowing performance, and the salivary flow test versus PROs (subscales of the EORTC QLQ-H&N35, Swallow Quality of Life questionnaire (SWAL-QoL-NL) and Groningen Radiation-Induced Xerostomia (GRIX)). Results: Data of 142 patients were used, and in total, 285 measurements were performed. No significant correlations were found between the MAT or WST and subscales of the EORTC QLQ-H&N35. Significant but weak correlations were found between the MAT or WST and 4 subscales of the SWAL-QoL-NL. Weak to moderate correlations were found between the salivary flow test and GRIX at 3 and 6 months after treatment, with the highest correlation between salivary flow and xerostomia during the day (Spearman’s rho = − 0.441, p = 0.001). Conclusion: The association between objective test outcomes and PROs is weak, indicating that these outcome measures provide different information about masticatory performance, swallowing, and salivary flow in patients with HNC.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Early online date2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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