Maximizing local control and organ preservation in stage IV squamous cell head and neck cancer With hyperfractionated radiation and concurrent chemotherapy.
PURPOSE: Results are reported from an aggressive chemoradiotherapy protocol for advanced squamous cell head and neck cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with advanced squamous cell head and neck cancer were treated with hyperfractionated radiation therapy (72 Gy at 1.2 Gy twice per day) and two courses of concurrent chemotherapy with fluorouracil (1,000 mg/m(2)/d) and cisplatin (20 mg/m(2)/d), both given as 96-hour continuous intravenous infusions during weeks 1 and 4 of radiation therapy. Primary-site resection was reserved for residual or recurrent primary-site disease after chemoradiotherapy. Neck dissection was considered for N2 or greater disease, irrespective of clinical response, and for residual or recurrent neck disease after nonoperative treatment. RESULTS: Forty-one patients with stage IV disease were treated. Toxicity was significant, with grade 3 to 4 mucositis in 98%, dysphagia in 88%, and skin reaction in 85%. Neutropenic fever requiring hospitalization occurred in 51%. Despite feeding tube placement in 35 patients (85%), the mean weight loss during chemoradiotherapy was 13.3% of initial body weight. One patient died during treatment as a result of a pulmonary embolus. At a median follow-up period of 30 months, the 3-year Kaplan-Meier projected overall survival was 59%, disease-specific survival 69%, likelihood of local control without surgical resection 91%, and local control with surgical resection 97%. The likelihood of distant disease control at 3 years was 74%, and distant metastases were present in eight of 13 patients who died. CONCLUSION: This chemoradiotherapy schedule produces considerable but manageable toxicity. Survival and organ preservation are excellent for this poor-prognosis patient cohort. Distant metastases are the most common cause of treatment failure.
Adelstein, DJ; Saxton, JP; Lavertu, P; Rybicki, LA; Esclamado, RM; Wood, BG; Strome, M; Carroll, MA
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