Low lymphocyte counts of all sorts, including radiation-induced, is typically associated with poor outcomes across the board. This retrospective look at patients that completed definitive radiation for oropharyngeal cancer from 2002-2013 at MD Anderson (and also had documented blood counts during treatment) sought to evaluate the relationship of lymphopenia with survival and disease control. These 850 patients (71% p16+, 8% p16-, and 21% unknown) were treated to a median dose of 70 Gy, and almost all received concurrent chemo. Surprisingly (at least to us because who's really ever looked?), 83% developed grade ≥3 lymphopenia during radiation with a full quarter developing grade 4 lymphopenia. At a median follow up of 5 years, there was no statistically significant difference in survival or disease control between patients with lymphopenia to those without. TBL: Development of lymphopenia during radiation for oropharyngeal cancer (fortunately) doesn’t appear to be associated with oncologic outcomes. | Ng, Radiotherapy and Oncology 2020


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