Introduction:To identify organs to which dose limitation using intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) can potentially modify the incidence and duration of feeding tube use, during and immediately following therapy for head and neck cancer. Materials and methods:One hundred and fourteen patients treated with definitive IMRT (± concurrent chemotherapy) head and neck mucosal cancers were included. Patients received a prophylactic feeding tube and followed up by a dietician for at least eight weeks post-radiotherapy. Salivary and swallowing organs were delineated for each patient. Tumour and dosimetric variables were recorded for all patients and analysed for incidence and duration of feeding tube use for at least 25% of dietary requirements. Results:Multivariate analysis showed T-classification ≥3 and level II lymphadenopathy as independent significant predictors of incidence and duration of feeding tube use in oral cavity, pharyngeal and supraglottic primaries. Mean dose deposited in the cervical oesophagus over 36Gy further increased the incidence and duration of feeding tube use. Mean dose deposited in the base of tongue and superior pharyngeal constrictor muscles affected incidence and duration of feeding tube use, respectively. Discussion:In patients treated with definitive IMRT, T-classification and Level II lymphadenopathy, combined with a mean cervical oesophagus dose over 36Gy can a stratify patients into eight distinct risk groups for using feeding tubes for at least 25% of their dietary requirements.