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Keywords:

  • head and neck cancer;
  • reirradiation;
  • chemotherapy;
  • hyperfractionated;
  • squamous cell carcinoma

Abstract

Background.

Patients with local recurrences or new head and neck primary tumors in previously irradiated tissues have few options for salvage treatment. One option for select patients is to undergo reirradiation with concurrent chemotherapy. The purpose of this study is to report the initial clinical results of the Fox Chase phase I and II prospective reirradiation and chemotherapy studies.

Methods.

Between July 1996 and January 2002, 38 patients with locally recurrent unresectable squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck were treated with concurrent chemotherapy and reirradiation on two prospective trials. All patients had received prior radiation therapy to the head and neck region (median dose, 64.2 Gy). Patients received cisplatin and paclitaxel along with hyperfractionated external beam radiation therapy to the site of recurrence.

Results.

The median follow-up was 10 months. The median survival was 12.4 months, with actuarial rates of overall survival of 50% and 35% at 1 and 2 years, respectively. During follow-up, 63% of patients experienced local progression of disease, all in the irradiated field. Actuarial progression-free survival at 1 year was 33%, with a median time to progression of 7.3 months. Acute grade 3 to 4 toxicity included neutropenia, nausea, emesis, and mucositis.

Conclusions.

Hyperfractionated split-course reirradiation and concurrent cisplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy demonstrates durable locoregional control in select patients, although late toxicity may occasionally be significant. Only sites of disease recurrence need to be covered in the reirradiation fields. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck27: XXX–XXX, 2005