Concomitant weekly cisplatin and altered fractionation radiotherapy in locally advanced head and neck cancer




Both concomitant chemotherapy and altered fractionation radiotherapy (RT) have been shown to improve outcomes for patients with locoregionally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. However, both strategies also increase acute toxicity, and it is questionable whether the 2 can be safely combined. Traditional concomitant chemotherapy regimens include high-dose cisplatin given at 100 mg/m2 every 3 weeks. The authors' purpose was to report efficacy and toxicity after weekly cisplatin (30 mg/m2/wk) concurrent with altered fractionation RT.


One hundred twenty-one patients with American Joint Committee on Cancer stages II (3%), III (13%), or IV (84%) squamous cell carcinomas of the oropharynx (70%), hypopharynx (20%), or larynx (10%) were treated between 2000 and 2006 at the University of Florida with hyperfractionated RT (55 patients) or concomitant boost RT (66 patients) and concomitant cisplatin (30 mg/m2/wk).


Median follow-up was 2.9 years; median follow-up on survivors was 3.6 years. Seventy-nine percent of patients completed ≥6 cycles of chemotherapy; 94% received ≥7200 centigrays. Seven (6%) patients changed from cisplatin to carboplatin because of bone marrow toxicity. Gastrostomy tube feeding was required in 54% of patients either before (16%) or during RT (38%). Two (1.6%) patients died from therapy-related complications. The 5-year outcomes were: local control, 83%; locoregional control, 79%; distant metastasis-free survival, 88%; cause-specific survival, 76%; and overall survival, 59%. Seven (6%) patients had severe late complications. Three (3%) patients required a permanent gastrostomy tube.


Concomitant weekly cisplatin with altered fractionation RT is a safe and effective treatment regimen. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.