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This study investigated the influence of pre-treatment proliferation characteristics, assessed by Ki-67 staining, in patients treated in the CHART trial of accelerated radiotherapy in head and neck cancer. Histological material from 402 patients was collected and stained for the presence and pattern of Ki-67 staining. Locoregional control and overall survival were the main clinical endpoints. Increasing Ki-67 positivity was associated with decreasing differentiation (P < 0.001) and increasing N-stage (P < 0.004). Increasing N-stage was also associated with the progression of proliferation pattern from marginal to random (P < 0.001). Using a multivariate model, a trend was seen towards a greater benefit from CHART in the lower Ki-67 tumours (P = 0.08); this became significant by pooling the low and intermediate Ki-67 groups in comparison with the high Ki-67 group (P = 0.032). Tumours with marginal proliferation pattern showed a lower hazard ratio with CHART versus conventional for locoregional control (P = 0.005). The data presented in this study do not support that a high pre-treatment Ki-67 is associated with a therapeutic benefit from accelerated radiotherapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Cancer

Publication Date





363 - 371


Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Cell Proliferation, Female, Head and Neck Neoplasms, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Ki-67 Antigen, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Radiotherapy, Retrospective Studies, Survival Analysis, Treatment Outcome