• cisplatin;
  • dose response evaluation;
  • 5-fluorouracil;
  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma;
  • paclitaxel;
  • Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors



Previous data from an institutional pilot study in patients with advanced or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) who received treated a combined chemotherapy regimen of paclitaxel, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil indicated an overall response rate of 60% and a median survival of 6 months. To validate these results and to determine the feasibility of this combination, a Phase II study was conducted by the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG S0007).


Patients with advanced or recurrent SCCHN were eligible if they had received 1 previous regimen of induction/adjuvant chemotherapy or no prior systemic therapy. Patients received treatment with paclitaxel (135 mg/m2 on Day 1), followed by cisplatin (75 mg/m2 on Day 1), and 5-fluorouracil (1000 mg/m2per day as a 96-hour continuous infusion on Days 1–4) every 21 days.


Seventy-six patients received a combined total of 286 cycles of chemotherapy. Sixty-nine patients were evaluable for response. There were 5 complete responses (7%) and 23 partial responses (33%) partial responses, for an overall response rate of 41%. The median progression-free survival was 4 months, and the median overall survival was 10 months. Six treatment-related deaths were documented, including deaths in 2 patients who had a Zubrod PS of 2. Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia (according to National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria [version 2.0]) was observed in 47% of patients. Other Grade 3 or 4 adverse events included mucositis (34% of patients), nausea (20% of patients), anemia (9% of patients), and neuropathy (8% of patients).


The combination of paclitaxel, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil had efficacy similar to that of standard treatment regimens in patients with advanced or recurrent SCCHN but with increased toxicity. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.