Radiation and Xerostomia


  • at 30-50 Gy the hyposalivation may be reversible.[1]
  • more than 50% of the parotid glands had to be outside the radiation fields to prevent severe dryness;[2]
  • irradiation of the submandibular and sublingual glands only had a minor effect.[2]
  • mean parotid gland dose thresholds were 24 Gy and 26 Gy for the unstimulated and stimulated flow rates, respectively[3]
  • partial volume thresholds were 67%, 45%, and 24% gland volume receiving more than 15 Gy, 30 Gy and 45 Gy, respectively.[3]
  • Measurements of whole mouth saliva revealed that significant salivary output was retained if at least 20 cc of the combined volume of both parotid glands received no more than 20 Gy. [4]
1. Franzen, L.; Funegard, U.; Ericson, T.; Henriksson, R. Parotid gland function during and following radiotherapy of malignancies in the head and neck: A consecutive study of salivary flow and patient discomfort. Eur J Cancer. 28(213):457-462; 1992.
2. Mira, J. G.; Wescott, W. B.; Starcke, E. N.; Shannon, I. L. Some factors influencing salivary function when treating with radiotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 7-535-541; 1981.
3. Eisbruch A, Ten Haken RK, Kim HM, Marsh LH, Ship JA. Dose, volume, and function relationships in parotid salivary glands following conformal and intensity modulated irradiation of head and neck cancer. Int.J.Rad.Onc.Biol.Phys. 45:577-587, 1999.
4. Chao KSC, personal communication.
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