Purpose: The poor functional outcome in patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with surgery and radiation has led to alternative approaches to advanced disease. We conducted a phase II study of induction chemotherapy followed by concurrent chemoradiotherapy for organ preservation in patients with advanced resectable and unresectable (nasopharyngeal) tumors. Patients and Methods: Forty-two patients with stage III to IV resectable HNSCC and nasopharyngeal tumors received induction chemotherapy with two courses of cisplatin (20 mg/m2/d continuous infusion [CI]), fluorouracil (800 mg/m2/d CI), and leucovorin (500 mg/m2/d CI; PFL) for 4 days followed by concurrent therapy with cisplatin (100 mg/m2/d on days 1 and 22) and approximately 70 Gy of external-beam radiotherapy. Results: Response to induction chemotherapy included partial response rate of 52% and complete response rate of 24%. The most common grade 3 or 4 toxicity was neutropenia (59%). After cisplatin chemoradiotherapy the complete response rate was 67%. Toxicities of cisplatin chemoradiotherapy consisted of grade 3 or 4 mucositis (79%) and neutropenia (51%). At a median follow-up of 71.5 months, 43% of the patients are still alive and disease-free. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate was 60%, and the 2- and 5-year overall survival (OS) rates were 67% and 52%, respectively. Three patients died of second primaries. Late complications of treatment included xerostomia and hoarseness. One patient had persistent dysphagia and required laser epiglotectomy 108 months after treatment. Conclusion: Induction chemotherapy with PFL followed by concurrent cisplatin chemoradiotherapy is well tolerated and results in a good likelihood of organ preservation and excellent PFS and OS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research