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Keywords:

  • head and neck cancer;
  • chemotherapy;
  • immunotherapy;
  • IL-2;
  • cisplatin

Abstract

Background

We have shown that rIL-2 administration in recurrent head and neck cancers induces a tumor-specific T-lymphocyte reactivity and tumor regression; in a pilot study we have shown a safe and effective administration of rIL2 after cisplatin + 5-fluorouracil. Long-term results are not known.

Methods

Thirty patients with recurrent-persistent head and neck cancer were treated with cisplatin (100 mg-m2) d.1,5-fluorouracil (1 gr-m2-d c.i. 96 h), and SQ rIL-2 (4.5 M IU day 8 to 12 and 15 to 19) every 3 weeks.

Results

The overall response rate was 53.3% (95% CI; 34.4–72.3%): 26.6% complete response (CR) (8 patients) and 26.6% partial response (PR) (8 patients); 6 patients had SD (20%), 8 had PD (26.6%). The median follow-up was 36 months (range, 28–44).The median CR duration is 16.2 months (8.5–39+); the median survival duration of this group has not been reached. The median PR duration was 7.2 months (3–10); the median survival was 13.3 months (10–26). The median overall survival was 14 months.

Conclusions

The most impressive finding is the very long survival of CRs patients. This outcome has been reported in other cancer patients with a CR after IL-2 therapy. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Head Neck 23: 298–304, 2001.