Chemoradiotherpy for the treatment of regionally advanced head and neck cancers

J. Aisner, M. Jacobs, V. Sinabaldi, W. Gray, M. Eisenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Despite the use of aggressive surgery and radiotherapy, patients with locoregionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck continue to suffer poor local control and poor survival. Chemotherapy produces excellent regressions of locoregional disease when given as part of initial induction therapy. The use of chemoradiotherapy for regionally advanced disease offers the possibility of organ preservation and retention of organ function for many of these patients. Randomized studies have suggested that chemoradiotherapy also offers better local control and survival than radiotherapy alone. Many chemotherapy regimens used in modern chemoradiotherapy include cisplatin. Because of its ease of outpatient administration, lesser degree of nausea and vomiting, reduced nephrotoxicity, improved nutritional status during therapy, and predictable myelotoxicity, carboplatin has important advantages over cisplatin. Carboplatin possesses well-defined single-agent activity against head and neck cancers, and produces excellent responses in combination with 5-fluorouracil in previously untreated patients. Sequential studies at the University of Maryland Cancer Center showed that weekly carboplatin could be safely and easily combined with standard doses and fractions of radiotherapy. With this regimen, 57% of the patients achieved a complete response and 21% achieved a partial response. Although the addition of bleomycin to this regimen proved somewhat toxic, concurrent carboplatin and radiotherapy allows for the further testing of new agents in developing a combination chemotherapy/concurrent radiotherapy program. Such regimens may improve local control and survival, and may be developed further for organ preservation studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in oncology
Issue number5 SUPPL. 12
StatePublished - Dec 20 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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