Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor gefitinib added to chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced head and neck cancer.
PURPOSE: Assess efficacy and toxicity of gefitinib, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor, added to, and in maintenance after, concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) in locally advanced head and neck cancer (LA-HNC) and correlate outcomes with EGFR gene copy number alterations. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with stage III to IV LA-HNC received two cycles of carboplatin/paclitaxel induction chemotherapy (IC) followed by split-course CCRT with fluorouracil, hydroxyurea, twice daily radiotherapy (FHX), and gefitinib (250 mg daily) followed by continued gefitinib for 2 years total. The primary end point was complete response (CR) rate after CCRT. EGFR gene copy number was assessed by fluorescent in situ hybridization. RESULTS: Sixty-nine patients (66 with stage IV disease, 37 with oropharynx primary tumors, and 67 with performance status 0 to 1) were enrolled with a median age of 55 years. Predominant grade 3 or 4 toxicities during IC and CCRT were neutropenia (n = 20) and in-field mucositis (n = 59) and dermatitis (n = 23), respectively. CR rate after CCRT was 90%. After median follow-up of 3.5 years, 4-year overall, progression-free, and disease-specific survival rates were 74%, 72%, and 89%, respectively. To date, one patient has developed a second primary tumor in the aerodigestive tract. In 31 patients with available tissue, high EGFR gene copy number was associated with worse overall survival (P = .02). CONCLUSION: Gefitinib can be administered with FHX and as maintenance therapy for at least 2 years, demonstrating CR and survival rates that compare favorably with prior experience. High EGFR gene copy number may be associated with poor outcome in patients with LA-HNC treated with this regimen.
Cohen, EEW; Haraf, DJ; Kunnavakkam, R; Stenson, KM; Blair, EA; Brockstein, B; Lester, EP; Salama, JK; Dekker, A; Williams, R; Witt, ME; Grushko, TA; Dignam, JJ; Lingen, MW; Olopade, OI; Vokes, EE
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