Francesco Gigante, Pasquale Gianluca Albanese, Daniele Spada, Alessandra Li Voti, Veronica Castro, Claudio Andaloro
There is contradicting literature on radiotherapy associated with olfactory dysfunction among head and neck cancer (HNC) patients, especially concerning the recovery and its impact on the quality of life. The aim of this study was to evaluate the olfactory function, mucociliary clearance and quality of life (QoL) at several time points after the initiation of RT. An HNC RT-treated cohort study was tested for the olfactory function using the Connecticut Chemosensory Clinical Research Center (CCCRC) test, the nasal mucociliary clearance by the Saccharin Transit test (STT) and QoL through the Appetite, Hunger and Sensory Perception (AHSP) questionnaire. Both the CCCRC score and saccharin perception time show a significantly deteriorating trend at each time period (all p values <0.05). Overall QoL scores at the mid- and end of RT were significantly reduced (p=0.019 and 0.003; respectively). RT following HNC resulted in diminished olfactory and nasal functions. Although a partial recovery may be seen, these dysfunctions persisted over 3 months after treatment and could impact the quality of life.