PRO-ACTIVE: Prophylactic Swallow Intervention for Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer

Official Title

PRO-ACTIVE: Comparing The Effectiveness of Prophylactic Swallow Intervention for Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer

Summary:

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is a common and potentially life-threatening toxicity of radiation therapy (RT) for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). HNC survivors have a 20-24 percent lifetime risk of pneumonia after RT, which is associated with a 42 percent excess risk of death in survivorship. Moreover, dysphagia predisposes individuals to malnutrition, and at least half of HNC patients require feeding tubes during RT.

Patients are commonly referred for swallowing therapy with a speech pathologist. Some patients receive early intervention, before a swallowing problem begins—PRO-ACTIVE therapy. Other patients are monitored and prescribed dysphagia interventions only if and when a swallowing problem occurs—RE-ACTIVE therapy. Thus, REACTIVE therapy aims to reverse an already impaired swallowing ability, whereas PRO-ACTIVE therapy aims to prevent or reduce severity of dysphagia. These two broad categories of therapy represent the most common types of intervention offered to HNC patients across North America. Although there is single-institution evidence to support each practice, it is yet unknown which is most effective.

To address this gap, the primary aim of this international, multi-site 3-arm pragmatic randomized clinical trial is to compare the effectiveness of PRO-ACTIVE (high and low intensity) versus RE-ACTIVE swallowing therapy among 952 patients with HNC planning to undergo RT, using duration of feeding tube dependence after RT as the primary outcome. Our secondary aim proposes to compare the relative benefit or harm of these swallowing interventions on secondary outcomes considered relevant to our stakeholder partners.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Feeding tube duration
Secondary Outcome:
  • The MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI)
  • The MD Anderson Symptom Inventory for Head and Neck Cancer (MDASI-HN)
  • Swallowing strength
  • Performance Status Scale Head and Neck (PSS-HN)
  • Medical Outcome of Dysphagia (MOD)
  • Cancer Behaviour Inventory (CBI-l-V3)
  • 5-level EQ-5D version (EQ-5D-5L)
  • Physical Examination
Swallowing therapy is commonly provided as a behavioural treatment to lessen the risk or severity of dysphagia in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients; however, best practice is not established. This multi-site, international randomized clinical trial (RCT) will compare the effectiveness of PRO-ACTIVE (high and low intensity) versus RE-ACTIVE swallowing interventions in 952 HNC patients undergoing radiation therapy (RT). The 3 study arms represent alternate timing and intensity of swallowing therapy delivered by a speech language pathologist: 1) RE-ACTIVE, 2) PRO-ACTIVE EAT, and 3) PRO-ACTIVE EAT + EXERCISE.

The primary aim of the PRO-ACTIVE trial is to compare the effectiveness of PRO-ACTIVE versus RE-ACTIVE swallowing interventions among patients with HNC planned to undergo RT. We hypothesize that the combined PRO-ACTIVE therapies are more effective than RE-ACTIVE therapy; and, if so, that more intensive PRO-ACTIVE (EAT + EXERCISE) is superior to less intensive PRO-ACTIVE (EAT). Effectiveness will be measured based on reduced duration of feeding tube dependency as the primary endpoint, an outcome valued equally by patients, caregivers and clinicians.

The secondary aim of the PRO-ACTIVE trial is to compare the relative benefit or harm of swallowing therapy arms on secondary outcomes including videofluoroscopic swallowing evaluations, functional status measures, health status measures, and patient-reported outcomes.

View this trial on ClinicalTrials.gov

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Resources

Canadian Cancer Society

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