Malignant tumors of the salivary glands make up approximately 5% of head and neck cancers. The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) initiated a phase II evaluation of paclitaxel in patients with locally recurrent or metastatic salivary gland malignancies.
Chemo-naive patients with histologically confirmed recurrent or metastatic carcinoma of salivary gland origin (mucoepidermoid, adenocarcinoma, or adenoid cystic) were eligible. Patients were treated with paclitaxel, 200 mg/m2 IV, every 21 days for a minimum of four cycles.
Forty-five patients were treated. Eight partial responses were seen among the 31 patients with mucoepidermoid or adenocarcinoma histologic findings for a response rate of 26%. No responses were seen in the adenoid cystic carcinoma group. No significant difference in overall survival was found among these three histologic subgroups.
Paclitaxel demonstrates moderate activity in salivary gland tumors of mucoepidermoid and adenocarcinoma histology. The poor response rate in adenoid cystic carcinoma is consistent with prior reports in this chemoresistant histologic subtype. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck28: 197–204, 2006