Study of functional infrared imaging for early detection of mucositis in locally advanced head and neck cancer treated with chemoradiotherapy

Ezra E.W. Cohen, Omar Ahmed, Masha Kocherginsky, Galyna Shustakova, Emily Kistner-Griffin, Joseph K. Salama, Volodymyr Yefremenko, Valentyn Novosad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) has led to improved efficacy in treating locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (LA-SCCHN) but has led to almost universal in-field mucositis. Patients treated with the same regimen often have differences in mucositis occurrence and severity. Mucositis induced via radiation is known to represent an intense inflammatory response histologically. We hypothesized that patients destined to display severe mucocutaneous toxicity would demonstrate greater alterations in thermal intensity early in therapy than identically treated counterparts. This will allow identification of patients that will require more intensive supportive care using thermal imaging technology. Materials and methods Subjects with LA-SCCHN (oral cavity or oropharynx) being treated with the identical chemoradiotherapy regimen underwent baseline and weekly thermal imaging. Changes in skin temperature caused by mucositis and dermatitis compared with a reference area (ΔT were calculated and correlated to grade of mucositis based on NCI-CTCAE 3.0. Results Thirty-four subjects were enrolled. Grade 3 mucositis and dermatitis was observed in 53% and 21%, respectively. We observed a statistically significant positive association between an early rise in ΔT and mucositis grade (p value = 0.03). Conclusions Thermal imaging is able to detect small and early changes in skin surface temperature that may be associated with development of mucositis in patients being treated with chemoradiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1031
Number of pages7
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Chemoradiation therapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Imaging
  • Mucositis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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