Combined carboplatin plus bleomycin and conventional radiotherapy for advanced carcinomas of the head and neck

M. C. Espinoza-Jacobs, M. Suntharalingam, M. Eisenberger, V. Sinibaldi, O. M. Salazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a previous study, we reported a 72% response rate (CR = 52%) in patients with unresectable head and neck (H and N) carcinomas treated with simultaneous carboplatin (CBDCA) and radiotherapy (RT). Bleomycin (Bleo), a known radio-sensitizing agent, has been shown to increase response rates when given together with RT in similar patients. To explore the nonoverlapping toxicities of these two agents, we combined i.v. CBDCA (100 mg/m2/week), Bleo (5 units on day 1 and 4/weekly) and standard doses of RT in patients with unresectable H and N carcinomas. Chemotherapy (CT) was continued until completion of RT. Twenty-three (13 males, 10 females) previously untreated patients with stage IV squamous cell carcinoma of the H and N were treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center: 61% had oropharyngeal cancers; 26%, hypopharynx; 9%, oral cavity; and 4%, an unknown primary. Moderate to severe mucositis developed in 90%, which required RT interruptions of ap to 3 weeks. After a median follow-up (FU) of 18 months, 35% achieved a complete response (CR) and 65% died from progressive disease. These preliminary data suggest that the addition of Bleo increases mucosal toxicity substantially and, while a moderate response rate was observed, it is unlikely that the CR rate will be higher than CBDCA/RT, which was also better tolerated and hence more suitable to multimodal approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-55
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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