Comparison of acute toxicities in two primary chemoradiation regimens in the treatment of advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Katherine Y. Fan, Hrishikesh Gogineni, David Zaboli, Spencer Lake, Marianna L. Zahurak, Simon R. Best, Marshall A. Levine, Mei Tang, Eva S. Zinreich, John R. Saunders, Joseph A. Califano, Ray G. Blanco, Sara I. Pai, Barbara Messing, Patrick K. Ha

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11 Scopus citations


Purpose. The optimal dosage and frequency of platinumbased chemoradiotherapy (CRT) regimen for treating advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma remains unresolved. This study aims to compare the toxicity and efficacy of weekly versus more dose-intensive cisplatinbased CRTs. Methods. We reviewed 155 stage III/IV head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients with no evidence of distant metastasis treated with one of two CRT regimens from 2000 to 2010 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Twicedaily radiation was provided as a split course over a 45-day period. Regimen A consisted of concomitant cisplatin (30 mg/m 2/1 h) weekly for 6 cycles; regimen B consisted of concomitant cisplatin (12 mg/m2/1 h) and 5-fluorouracil (600 mg/m 2/20 h) on days 1 through 5 and days 29 through 33. Main outcome measures included acute toxicities (myelosuppression, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, gastrointestinal dysfunction), unplanned hospitalizations, and disease control at 12 months. Results. Patients on regimen A were much less likely to experience ototoxicity due to their treatment (0% vs. 9.8%, P = 0.04). They were more likely to experience thrombocytopenia acutely (46% vs. 26%, P = 0.02), but the toxicity was not limiting (grade 1-2). No significant differences exist in the incidence of other toxicities or unplanned hospitalizations. At 1 year, 97% of patients on A vs. 86% of patients on regimen B were free of disease (P = 0.11). Conclusions. With concurrent radiotherapy, low-dose, single-agent, weekly cisplatin is less likely than higherdose daily cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil provided at the beginning and end of treatment to be associated with ototoxicity. The preliminary data suggest at least equivalent efficacy, but longer follow-up is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1980-1987
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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