Efficacy and feasibility of induction chemotherapy with paclitaxel, carboplatin and cetuximab for locally advanced unresectable head and neck cancer patients ineligible for combination treatment with docetaxel, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil

Head and Neck Cancer

Shirasu H, et al. Int J Clin Oncol 2020.


BACKGROUND: Docetaxel, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil (TPF) induction chemotherapy (ICT) is a treatment option for locally advanced unresectable head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (LA-HNSCC). However, patients with advanced age, or renal, cardiac or neurogenic dysfunction are ineligible for ICT-TPF.

METHODS: We retrospectively assessed 24 unresectable LA-HNSCC patients who received paclitaxel, carboplatin and cetuximab (PCE) as ICT at the Shizuoka Cancer Center between April 2013 and October 2018.

RESULTS: Patient characteristics were as follows: median age, 72 years (range 60-81); 0, 1, and 2 performance status (PS), 1, 15, and 8 patients, respectively, and creatinine clearance ≥ 60 mL/min or < 60 mL/min, 8 and 16 patients, respectively. The main reasons for PCE selection were renal impairment, older age, cardiac dysfunction, poor PS, and cerebral infarction. Twenty-two patients (92%) completed two or three cycles of ICT-PCE. After ICT-PCE, one patient (4%) and 20 patients (83%) achieved a complete response and partial response, respectively. Twenty-one patients (87%) advanced to definitive locoregional treatment. Median observation period was 25.2 months. The 12-month progression-free and overall survival rates were 75 and 92%, respectively. Median progression-free survival and overall survival were 29.4 and 34.8 months, respectively. Grade 3 or 4 toxicities included neutropenia (58%), oral mucositis (8%), and febrile neutropenia (4%).

CONCLUSIONS: ICT-PCE may be a tolerable and potential option for unresectable LA-HNSCC patients ineligible for TPF.