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Keywords:

  • head and neck cancer;
  • chemotherapy;
  • radiation;
  • registry

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A study was undertaken to examine the patterns of systemic therapy use in conjunction with radiation therapy for patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell cancer.

METHODS:

Between December 1, 2005 and May 11, 2009, 2874 patients with newly diagnosed head and neck squamous cell cancer who were scheduled to receive radiotherapy and/or drug therapy were registered in a prospective national database. The database was specifically analyzed to examine patients who received chemotherapy in conjunction with definitive radiotherapy.

RESULTS:

A total of 1144 patients received systemic therapy in conjunction with radiotherapy; 645 (56%) patients received agents concurrent with radiation therapy, 49 (4%) patients received chemotherapy before radiotherapy (induction), 224 (20%) patients received chemotherapy before and during radiotherapy (sequential), and 226 (20%) patients received chemoradiation after surgery. Single-agent cisplatin, single-agent cetuximab, and carboplatin plus paclitaxel were, in order, the 3 most commonly prescribed concurrent regimens. Concurrent cisplatin was more frequently used in the academic setting compared with the community setting (P = .0015). Postoperative chemoradiation, rather than radiation alone, was more commonly used in academic centers compared with community practice centers (P = <.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

The LORHAN (Longitudinal Oncology Registry of Head and Neck Carcinoma) database is a useful barometer of current US practice patterns and can be applied to analyze future trends in the combined modality management of head and neck cancer. Sequential chemotherapy is used frequently, but cisplatin-based concurrent chemoradiation remains the most commonly used regimen for locally advanced head and neck cancer. Cancer 2011. © 2010 American Cancer Society.