Final Results of a Randomized Phase 2 Trial Investigating the Addition of Cetuximab to Induction Chemotherapy and Accelerated or Hyperfractionated Chemoradiation for Locoregionally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: The role of cetuximab in the treatment of locoregionally advanced head and neck squamous cell cancer (LA-HNSCC) remains poorly defined. In this phase 2 randomized study, we investigated the addition of cetuximab to both induction chemotherapy (IC) and hyperfractionated or accelerated chemoradiation. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients with LA-HNSCC were randomized to receive 2 cycles of weekly IC (cetuximab, paclitaxel, carboplatin) and either Cetux-FHX (concurrent cetuximab, 5-fluorouracil, hydroxyurea, and 1.5 Gy twice-daily radiation therapy every other week to 75 Gy) or Cetux-PX (cetuximab, cisplatin, and accelerated radiation therapy with delayed concomitant boost to 72 Gy in 42 fractions). The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS), with superiority compared with historical control achieved if either arm had 2-year PFS ≥70%. RESULTS: 110 patients were randomly assigned to either Cetux-FHX (n=57) or Cetux-PX (n=53). The overall response rate to IC was 91%. Severe toxicity on IC was limited to rash (23% grade ≥3) and myelosuppression (38% grade ≥3 neutropenia). The 2-year rates of PFS for both Cetux-FHX (82.5%) and Cetux-PX (84.9%) were significantly higher than for historical control (P<.001). The 2-year overall survival (OS) was 91.2% for Cetux-FHX and 94.3% for Cetux-PX. With a median follow-up time of 72 months, there were no significant differences in PFS (P=.35) or OS (P=.15) between the treatment arms. The late outcomes for the entire cohort included 5-year PFS, OS, locoregional failure, and distant metastasis rates of 74.1%, 80.3%, 15.7%, and 7.4%, respectively. The 5-year PFS and OS were 84.4% and 91.3%, respectively, among human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive patients and 65.9% and 72.5%, respectively, among HPV-negative patients. CONCLUSIONS: The addition of cetuximab to IC and chemoradiation was tolerable and produced long-term control of LA-HNSCC, particularly among poor-prognosis HPV-negative patients. Further investigation of cetuximab may be warranted in the neoadjuvant setting and with non-platinum-based chemoradiation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Seiwert, TY; Melotek, JM; Blair, EA; Stenson, KM; Salama, JK; Witt, ME; Brisson, RJ; Chawla, A; Dekker, A; Lingen, MW; Kocherginsky, M; Villaflor, VM; Cohen, EEW; Haraf, DJ; Vokes, EE

Published Date

  • September 1, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 96 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 21 - 29

PubMed ID

  • 27511844

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-355X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2016.04.030


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States