Radiation and concurrent carboplatin administration in locally advanced head and neck cancer
Skarlos, Dimosthenis V.
Kosmidis, Paraskevas A.
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Aims and Background: To improve local control in patients with locally advanced inoperable head and neck cancer we administered carboplatin concurrently with radiation. Methods: Thirty-nine patients entered the study. There were 35 men and 4 women with a median age of 58 years (range, 24-74) and a median performance status of 90 (range, 60-100) of the Karnofsky scale. The primary site included nasopharynx (5 patients), oropharynx (n = 10), hypopharynx (n = 5), larynx (n = 12), oral cavity (n = 2), paranasal sinuses (n = 3), salivary glands (n = 1) and unknown (n = 1). Histology was squamous cell carcinoma in all cases. All patients were irradiated with a 60Co unit. According to the protocol, they should receive 66-70 Gy to the tumor area and 45 Gy to the tumor-free area of the neck. Carboplatin was administered at a dose of 400 mg/m2 on days 2, 22 and 42. Results: Totally, 112 cycles of carboplatin were administered, of which 106 (95%) were at full dose. Median dose intensity of carboplatin actually delivered was 170 mg/m2/week (range, 57-200). All patients were irradiated, although only 30 (77%) received >66 Gy. After the completion of combined treatment, 23 (59%, 95% C.I. 42-74%) achieved a CR and 10 (26%, 95% C.I. 13-42%) a PR. Grade 3-4 myelotoxicity was noticed in 60% of the patients. Other grade 3-4 toxicities included stomatitis (13%), dysphagia (5%) and weight loss (3%). Median time to progression was 18 months (range, 2-25). Conclusions: Radiation and concurrent administration of carboplatin determined a high CR rate in patients with HNC, although the superiority of this combined modality approach over radiation alone has to be proven in phase III trials.