Although controversy exists in the management of locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (LA-SCCHN), clinicians often use induction chemotherapy for treatment of the most advanced cases. One promising regimen combines weekly cetuximab (400 mg/m2 loading dose followed by 250 mg/m2) with carboplatin (AUC of 2) and paclitaxel (90 mg/m2). We retrospectively evaluated patients treated with this regimen prior to defnitive chemo-radiation or surgery between May 2008 and December 2011. The primary endpoint used for this retrospective analysis was feasibility. Thirty consecutive, unselected patients were included. Median follow-up was 13.7 months (range, 5.0-38.7 months). All but one patient had stage IV SCCHN. Dose intensity was high for carboplatin (92%), paclitaxel (93%) and cetuximab (85%). Grade 3-4 toxicities occurred in <7% of the study population and were limited to rash, neutro-penia and infusion reactions. Response rate (RR) to induction chemotherapy was 97% (30% complete response, 67% partial response). All patients completed subsequent chemoradio-therapy or surgery. Nineteen patients (63%) demonstrated a complete response and 11 patients (37%) demonstrated a partial response. Median overall survival and progression-free survival data are not yet mature. The RR to therapy in our off-protocol experience is at least comparable to that observed in the two phase II studies of this regimen and appears superior to that observed with docetaxel, cisplatin and fuorouracil (TPF).
- Head and neck cancer
- Induction chemotherapy
- Locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
- Cancer Research