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Radiotherapy Dose–Volume Effects on Salivary Gland Function

      Publications relating parotid dose–volume characteristics to radiotherapy-induced salivary toxicity were reviewed. Late salivary dysfunction has been correlated to the mean parotid gland dose, with recovery occurring with time. Severe xerostomia (defined as long-term salivary function of <25% of baseline) is usually avoided if at least one parotid gland is spared to a mean dose of less than ≈20 Gy or if both glands are spared to less than ≈25 Gy (mean dose). For complex, partial-volume RT patterns (e.g., intensity-modulated radiotherapy), each parotid mean dose should be kept as low as possible, consistent with the desired clinical target volume coverage. A lower parotid mean dose usually results in better function. Submandibular gland sparing also significantly decreases the risk of xerostomia. The currently available predictive models are imprecise, and additional study is required to identify more accurate models of xerostomia risk.
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