Induction chemotherapy and radiation therapy for T4 oropharyngeal carcinoma



Between 1964 and 1996, 123 patients were treated for T4 oropharyngeal carcinoma; 93 were treated with radiation therapy alone; 30 were treated with induction chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Patients who received induction chemotherapy and radiation therapy were treated between 1985 and 1996; during this time 39 patients were treated with radiation therapy alone. Five-year local control rates for patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, radiation therapy alone (all patients), and radiation therapy alone (patients treated since September 1985) were 63%, 38%, and 48%, respectively. The five-year rates of freedom from distant metastasis were 87%, 73%, and 76%, respectively. The five-year actuarial cause-specific survival rates were 58%, 27%, and 37%, respectively, while the five-year absolute survival rates were 42%, 17%, and 23%, respectively. Improvements in local control and freedom from distant metastasis in those receiving chemotherapy were not statistically significant, while the improvements in cause-specific survival and absolute survival were significant at the P ≤ 0.05 level. Induction chemotherapy may improve the cure rate for patients with T4 oropharyngeal carcinoma. Although encouraging, these data are nonrandomized and should be interpreted with caution. Radiat. Oncol. Invest. 7:98–105, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.