Nv V, et al. Gulf J Oncolog 2020.
BACKGROUND: Cetuximab-based chemotherapy is the standard palliative chemotherapy in head and neck cancers, but there is a limitation due to financial and logistic reasons, and where oral metronomic chemotherapy can be a successful alternate. Oral metronomic chemotherapy (MCT) can either be with Methotrexate alone or a combination of Methotrexate and Erlotinib. The study was aimed to assess the clinical outcome of oral MCT in head and neck cancer patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective review done at a tertiary cancer centre in India. The clinical outcomes of head and neck cancers patients started on palliative oral MCT from 1st August 2016 to 31st December 2017 were analyzed. The demographic details, toxicity profiles, response to MCT, disease progression status were analyzed. Univariate analysis was done to assess the factors associated with disease progression. Kaplan Meier curve was used for estimating progression free survival (PFS).
RESULTS: Of the total 104 patients, the most common primary site of head and neck cancer was oral cavity (52%). MCT scheduled with Methotrexate and Erlotinib in 80 patients. Toxicity rate was 61%, with Grade 3-4 toxicity in 21%. Response rate was 56% and clinically meaningful response rate was 69%. Disease progression was observed in 55% patients. Median PFS rate was 134 Days. Oral MCT was permanently stopped in 73%, the most common reason being disease progression.
DISCUSSION: Patients who underwent palliative oral MCT had a median PFS of 134 days which is considered as promising treatment method. Results confirmed more than 50% response rate with lower Grade 3-4 toxicities.
CONCLUSION: Palliative oral MCT either with Methotrexate and Erlotinib or Methotrexate alone will be a feasible treatment option in patients with head and neck cancers treated with palliative intent.