Phase III randomized trial of amifostine as a radioprotector in head and neck cancer.
PURPOSE: Radiotherapy for head and neck cancer causes acute and chronic xerostomia and acute mucositis. Amifositine and its active metabolite, WR-1065, accumulate with high concentrations in the salivary glands. This randomized trial evaluated whether amifostine could ameliorate these side effects without compromising the effectiveness of radiotherapy in these patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with previously untreated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma were eligible. Primary end points included the incidence of grade > or =2 acute xerostomia, grade > or =3 acute mucositis, and grade > or =2 late xerostomia and were based on the worst toxicity reported. Amifostine was administered (200 mg/m(2) intravenous) daily 15 to 30 minutes before irradiation. Radiotherapy was given once daily (1.8 to 2.0 Gy) to doses of 50 to 70 Gy. Whole saliva production was quantitated preradiotherapy and regularly during follow-up. Patients evaluated their symptoms through a questionnaire during and after treatment. Local-regional control was the primary antitumor efficacy end point. RESULTS: Nausea, vomiting, hypotension, and allergic reactions were the most common side effects. Fifty-three percent of the patients receiving amifostine had at least one episode of nausea and/or vomiting, but it only occurred with 233 (5%) of 4,314 doses. Amifostine reduced grade > or =2 acute xerostomia from 78% to 51% (P<.0001) and chronic xerostomia grade > or = 2 from 57% to 34% (P=.002). Median saliva production was greater with amifostine (0.26 g v 0.10 g, P=.04). Amifostine did not reduce mucositis. With and without amifostine, 2-year local-regional control, disease-free survival, and overall survival were 58% versus 63%, 53% versus 57%, and 71% versus 66%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Amifostine reduced acute and chronic xerostomia. Antitumor treatment efficacy was preserved.
Brizel, DM; Wasserman, TH; Henke, M; Strnad, V; Rudat, V; Monnier, A; Eschwege, F; Zhang, J; Russell, L; Oster, W; Sauer, R
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