Chemoradiotherapy for advanced inoperable head and neck cancer: A phase II study.
The beneficial effects of chemotherapy in patients with advanced head and neck cancer remain controversial in terms of survival, but have shown some promise in improving locoregional control and quality of life. In an effort to improve locoregional control and survival, a prospective phase II study was initiated using paclitaxel and carboplatin with concurrent conventional fractionated external-beam radiotherapy. Paclitaxel and carboplatin have both shown excellent radiosensitization through two discrete mechanisms, cell blockage in G2/M phase and inhibition of DNA repair, respectively. Patients were stratified as either operable or inoperable. This report pertains to the inoperable patient group, who received eight cycles of weekly paclitaxel (60 mg/m2), carboplatin (area under the concentration-time curve of 1) with conventional radiotherapy (72 Gy). Chemoradiotherapy was followed by neck dissection for those patients who presented with clinically palpable lymph nodes. Thirty-three patients were enrolled in this group (23 men and 10 women with a median age of 56 years). Eleven patients (33%) had stage III disease; 22 (67%), stage IV disease. The median follow-up period was 14 months. Clinical complete response occurred in 20 patients (60%) and partial response occurred in 10 (30%), for an overall response rate of 90%. Following completion of therapy, 18 patients have undergone biopsy at the primary tumor site and 17 were negative. Eight of the 16 patients with clinically palpable neck nodes at presentation underwent neck dissection; five (63%) had negative nodes. Mucositis was the most common toxicity. Grade 3 or 4 mucositis occurred in 30 of the 33 (90%) patients. Other grade 3 or 4 toxicities included skin (22%), candidiasis (19%), neutropenia (9%), and dehydration (6%). One patient with laryngeal carcinoma who had pathologic complete response developed cartilage necrosis and is undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Survival data are early but encouraging. Concurrent paclitaxel, carboplatin, and external-beam radiotherapy yielded excellent clinical and pathologic responses. Mucositis remains the most common and significant morbidity. The study will continue for necessary accrual.
Chougule, PB; Akhtar, MS; Akerley, W; Ready, N; Safran, H; McRae, R; Nigri, P; Bellino, J; Koness, J; Radie-Keane, K; Wanebo, H
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