The article by Falchook et al1 in this issue of JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery demonstrates the importance of fully assessing the toxic effects experienced by patients during and after definitive chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced head and neck cancers. With a focus on patient outcomes, such as response and survival, toxicity data may be underestimated in many clinical trials, which poses a concern for patients in the era of human papilloma virus (HPV)–related head and neck cancers. Because the long-term survival rates for HPV-positive disease are exceptional in most patients receiving definitive chemoradiotherapy, efforts are under way to reduce acute and long-standing adverse effects, while maintaining prolonged control of disease. As documented by Falchook et al,1 the inclusion of patient-reported toxic effects may enhance symptom management and improve data quality.
Worden FP. Patient-Reported Toxic Effects—The Dawn of a New Era. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(6):524-525. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.0666