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Volume 19, Number 6, 2014

Incidence of hospitalization in patients receiving short course palliative cranial radiotherapy on outpatient basis in a limited resource setting – Experience from a regional cancer center in India

Aparna Gangopadhyay, Joydeep Das, Partha Nath, Tapas Maji, Jaydip Biswas



To investigate incidence of toxicity and related hospitalization among patients treated at our institute by a short course of palliative cranial radiotherapy against a longer, widely established schedule.


Shorter schedule palliative cranial radiotherapy is more convenient for patients and reduce waiting times. Although many studies have established safety of short schedules, the need for hospitalization due to acute treatment toxicity remains under-explored. Hospital admissions are an economic burden both for the patient and healthcare system in a limited resource setting. Delivery of treatment on an outpatient basis and within shorter times is preferred by patients, caregivers and healthcare staff.

Materials and methods

This was a prospective study on 68 patients treated with palliative whole brain radiotherapy between November 2010 and October 2012. One group received 20 Gy in 5 fractions over 1 week and the other group, 30 Gy in 10 fractions over 2 weeks. Treatment toxicity due to cranial radiotherapy was assessed as per RTOG acute and late toxicity criteria. Need for hospitalization owing to acute toxicity was also noted. Significant differences in the study parameters between the two groups were calculated by Fisher's t-test.


Requirement for hospital stay due to acute toxicity was not significantly different between the two groups. Patients in both groups experienced similar toxicity both during and after treatment.


The shorter course entailed no significant increase in toxicity related admissions, suitable for limited resource settings where patient transport is difficult, there are financial constraints, and the healthcare system is overburdened.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2014; 19(6) : 428-432

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