Adjuvant Radiotherapy in Early Stage Oral Cancers (AREST)

  • End date
    Sep 30, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Tata Memorial Hospital
Updated on 13 May 2022
squamous cell carcinoma
dental caries
primary tumor
adjuvant radiotherapy
intensity-modulated radiation therapy
squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity
oral cancer
mouth cancer
neck dissection
carcinoma of oral cavity


This study will assess the benefit of postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy in patients with an early oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) having tumor thickness more than or equal to 5mm. The study population will consist of patients who have been treated by surgery for early stage oral tongue cancers. Patients with a close or positive margin (</= 5mm) and or with metastatic neck node(s) will be excluded. Selected patients will be randomized into two groups. The group I will be observed after surgery and group II will receive adjuvant radiotherapy as per protocol.


The aim of this study is to assess the benefit of postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy in patients with an early oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) having a tumor depth of invasion more than or equal to 5mm.

Primary objective:

To determine the impact of postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy on locoregional recurrence-free survival in patients with early-stage oral tongue cancer with tumor thickness ≥ 5 mm.

Secondary objectives:

  1. To compare disease-free survival and overall survival between the two groups.
  2. To assess and compare the quality of life changes between the two groups.
  3. To assess the acute and long-term radiation toxicity.

We will be conducting a Phase III Open-Label Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial using stratified randomization. Patients will be randomized into two groups:

Group I: Control arm (Observation only) Group II: Study arm (Postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy)

Patients will be stratified on the following factors

  1. Presence of Perineural Invasion (PNI)/Lympho-Vascular Emboli (LVE)
  2. Histological grade (well-differentiated/moderately differentiated vs poorly differentiated)
  3. Tongue/Floor of Mouth vs Buccal Mucosa.

Study procedures:

The study population will consist of patients who have been treated by surgery for early-stage oral cancers. Patients satisfying the inclusion-exclusion criteria will be included in the study after obtaining a valid, written and informed consent. The depth of invasion will be assessed microscopically by measuring the maximum vertical bulk of the tumor from the normal mucosal surface to the deepest point of invasion. After reviewing the histopathological report, patients will be randomized to one of the 2 arms. Patients belonging to study arm (Group II) will receive adjuvant radiotherapy 60 Gray, 30 fractions for 30 days over 6 weeks as routinely prescribed at Tata Memorial Center (TMC) and will receive the treatment within or by 6 weeks after surgery.

Both the groups (Group I and Group II) will be under regular follow-up with 3 monthly intervals for the first 2 years and 6 monthly for the next 3 years and once a year thereafter. At each follow-up, patients will be evaluated clinically for evidence of locoregional tumor recurrence. The locoregional recurrence-free survival will be calculated based on the difference between the date of randomization and the date of biopsy-proven recurrence. We will also record the overall survival in both groups. The quality of life will be assessed at each follow-up regular intervals using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) quality of life questionnaire (QLQ H&N-35 ) and EORTC QLQ-C 30. The radiation toxicity will be assessed using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) v4.0.

Condition Cancer of Mouth, Cancer of the Tongue, Cancer of the Head and Neck, Buccal Mucosa Cancer, Floor of Mouth Carcinoma
Treatment Post-operative adjuvant radiotherapy
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03853655
SponsorTata Memorial Hospital
Last Modified on13 May 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Post-operative early stage squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity (Oral Tongue, Buccal Mucosa, Floor of mouth). (pT1, pT2, N0 as defined in the AJCC Classification 8th edition
Adequate surgery (Defined as wide local excision of the primary tumor with tumor-free margin ≥ 5mm and ipsilateral selective neck dissection addressing levels I-III at minimum.)
Written informed consent
Age ≥18 years
Eastern Co-operative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status 0-2
The depth of invasion (DOI) ≥ 5 mm
Compliance to therapy and follow-up
The interval from surgery to adjuvant radiotherapy ≤ 6 weeks

Exclusion Criteria

pT3/pT4 (as specified in the AJCC 8th edition)
Depth of invasion < 5mm
Any neck nodal metastasis with or without extra nodal extension
Tumor-free margin < 5 mm
Non-squamous histology
Pregnant woman
Prior h/o any other malignancy in the last five years
Prior therapeutic irradiation of the head and neck
Clear my responses

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