Purpose: To assess the antitumor activity and toxicity of docetaxel plus cisplatin chemotherapy in patients with recurrent or incurable squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Patients and Methods: Patients with recurrent or incurable SCCHN were eligible if they were chemotherapy naive or if they had received one prior regimen as neoadjuvant or concurrent treatment with radiation. Patients who had received chemotherapy for recurrence or prior taxanes were ineligible. Patients received docetaxel 75 mg/m2 and cisplatin 75 mg/m2 on day 1; cycles were repeated every 21 days. Results: Toxic effects and length of survival were assessable in 36 patients and tumor response was assessable in 32, for whom the overall response rate was 40% (13 of 32) (6% complete response and 34% partial response). Median time to response was 5 weeks, and median duration was 4.9 months. In the intent to treat population (n = 36), median time to disease progression was 4 months. Median survival (n = 36) was 9.6 months, and the 12-month survival rate was 27%. Grade 4 neutropenia was observed in 71% of patients. Two patients (6%) experienced serious fever during grade 4 neutropenia (without documented infection) that required intravenous antibiotics, and an additional four patients had grade 3 infection. Other severe (grades 3 and 4) toxic effects were asthenia (25%), nausea (11%), fever (8%), vomiting (8%), severe hypersensitivity reactions (8%), and diarrhea (8%). Severe stomatitis (grade 3) occurred in only one patient. Conclusion: Docetaxel plus cisplatin is an effective regimen with an acceptable safety profile for palliation of recurrent SCCHN. Relative to the standard regimen of cisplatin/fluorouracil, this regimen may offer higher tumor response and survival rates with short outpatient administration and a lower incidence of severe mucosal toxicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research