Concurrent paclitaxel, carboplatin, and radiotherapy in advanced head and neck cancers: a phase II study--preliminary results.
Radiotherapy or surgery alone for advanced head and neck cancer generally yields poor results. Paclitaxel (Taxol; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ) and carboplatin have both shown excellent radiosensitization through two discrete mechanisms, namely, blocking the cell cycle in the G2/M phase and inhibiting DNA repair. In an effort to improve locoregional control and survival, a prospective phase II study was initiated using paclitaxel 60 mg/ml and carboplatin (area under the concentration-time curve of 1), each given as a single dose weekly with concurrent conventional fractionated external beam radiotherapy. Patients were stratified into two groups: operable and inoperable/unresectable. The operable and inoperable groups received 5 weeks (45 Gy) and 8 weeks (72 Gy) of chemoradiotherapy, respectively. Patients in the operable group were evaluated with repeat biopsies from the primary site after 5 weeks. Those with a positive biopsy underwent surgery; those with a negative biopsy received 3 additional weeks of chemoradiotherapy. Thirty-four patients were entered in the operable group (28 men and six women; 40 to 71 years of age; 12 stage III and 22 stage IV). Of 26 evaluable patients, 19 (73%) had a complete clinical response (95% confidence interval [CI], 52% to 88%) and six (23%) had a partial response (95% CI, 9% to 44%), for a total clinical response rate of 96% (95% CI, 80% to 100%). A pathologic complete response at the primary site (two had an unknown primary site) occurred in 17 of 24 (71%) patients (95% CI, 49% to 87%). Of 20 patients with N1-3 nodes who underwent neck dissection, 17 (85%) had pathologically negative lymph nodes. Seven patients with residual tumor at the primary site were resected (oral cavity, three; maxilla, one; base of tongue, one; and larynx, two). Grades 3 and 4 mucositis were seen in 19 (73%) patients; mucositis was the most common and significant morbidity. Accrual for the inoperable group continues. Concomitant paclitaxel, carboplatin, and external beam radiotherapy yielded excellent clinical responses, but produced significant grade 3/4 toxicity. In the operable group, the majority of responders had a complete pathologic response. These preliminary findings will be assessed in terms of response duration, organ preservation, and long-term survival.
Chougule, P; Wanebo, H; Akerley, W; McRae, R; Nigri, P; Leone, L; Safran, H; Ready, N; Koness, RJ; Radie-Keane, K; Cole, B
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