Development and external validation of a prediction model for tube feeding dependency for at least four weeks during chemoradiotherapy for head and neck cancer

A.C.H. Willemsen, A. Kok*, L.W.J. Baijens, J.P. de Boer, R. de Bree, L.A. Devriese, C.M.L. Driessen, C.M.L. van Herpen, F.J.P. Hoebers, J.H.A.M. Kaanders, R.T. Karsten, S.M.J. van Kuijk, R.I. Lalisang, A. Navran, S.R. Pereboom, A.M.W.J. Schols, C.H.J. Terhaard, A. Hoeben

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background & aims: Patients who receive chemoradiotherapy or bioradiotherapy (CRT/BRT) for locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (LAHNSCC) often experience high toxicity rates interfering with oral intake, causing tube feeding (TF) dependency. International guidelines recommend gastrostomy insertion when the expected use of TF exceeds 4 weeks. We aimed to develop and externally validate a prediction model to identify patients who need TF > 4 weeks and would benefit from prophylactic gastrostomy insertion. Methods: A retrospective multicenter cohort study was performed in four tertiary head and neck cancer centers in the Netherlands. The prediction model was developed using data from University Medical Center Utrecht and the Netherlands Cancer Institute and externally validated using data from Maastricht University Medical Center and Radboud University Medical Center. The primary endpoint was TF dependency >4 weeks initiated during CRT/BRT or within 30 days after CRT/BRT completion. Potential predictors were extracted from electronic health records and radiotherapy dose-volume parameters were calculated. Results: The developmental and validation cohort included 409 and 334 patients respectively. Multi variable analysis showed predictive value for pretreatment weight change, texture modified diet at baseline, ECOG performance status, tumor site, N classification, mean radiation dose to the contralateral parotid gland and oral cavity. The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve for this model was 0.73 and after external validation 0.62. Positive and negative predictive value for a risk of 90% or higher for TF dependency >4 weeks were 81.8% and 42.3% respectively. Conclusions: We developed and externally validated a prediction model to estimate TF-dependency >4 weeks in LAHNSCC patients treated with CRT/BRT. This model can be used to guide personalized decision-making on prophylactic gastrostomy insertion in clinical practice. (c) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Prophylactic gastrostomy
  • Prediction model
  • Tube feeding
  • Predictors
  • Head neck cancer
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • RISK


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