Intensive induction chemotherapy and radiation for organ preservation in patients with advanced resectable head and neck carcinoma.


Journal Article

We designed a protocol to evaluate the possibility of organ preservation in patients with advanced, resectable carcinoma of the head and neck. The regimen consisted of intensive chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy alone for patients with good response to treatment. The end points of the study were response rate, organ preservation, toxicity, and survival.Forty-two eligible patients with carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx, and paranasal sinuses were enrolled. Induction chemotherapy consisted of three cycles of mitoguazone, fluorouracil (5-FU), and high-dose continuous infusion cisplatin. Patients who had a complete response to chemotherapy, or whose tumor was downstaged to T1N1, were treated with definitive radiation therapy, to a total dose of 66 to 73.8 Gy. Patients with residual disease greater than T1N1 underwent surgery and postoperative radiation.The overall response rate to chemotherapy was 84%, with a 43% complete response rate, and a 68% complete response rate at the primary tumor site. Sixty-nine percent of patients (29 of 42) were initially spared surgery to the primary tumor site, and four of these patients (14%) required neck dissection only, after radiation therapy. These tumor sites included oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx, and sinuses. Eventually, five of these patients (17%) required salvage surgery and eight patients (28%) had unresectable or metastatic relapses. With a median follow-up duration of 38.5 months, 36% of all patients have had preservation of the primary tumor site and remain disease-free. The median survival duration is 26.8 months. Toxicity was substantial, with a 70% incidence of grade 3 to 4 granulocytopenia and two septic deaths.Organ preservation without apparent compromise of survival was achieved in patients with selected nonlaryngeal sites of head and neck carcinoma. Larger site-specific trials with less toxic regimens conducted in randomized fashion are required to extend these data.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Urba, SG; Forastiere, AA; Wolf, GT; Esclamado, RM; McLaughlin, PW; Thornton, AF

Published Date

  • May 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 946 - 953

PubMed ID

  • 8164046

Pubmed Central ID

  • 8164046

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-7755

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0732-183X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1200/jco.1994.12.5.946


  • eng