Cetuximab and Radiation Therapy Versus Cisplatin and Radiation Therapy for Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer: Long-Term Survival and Toxicity Outcomes of a Randomized Phase 2 Trial

Marta Maddalo, Paolo Borghetti, Davide Tomasini, Renzo Corvò, Pierluigi Bonomo, Alessia Petrucci, Fabiola Paiar, Luciana Lastrucci, Marco Lorenzo Bonù, Diana Greco, Loredana Costa, Ludovica Pegurri, Luca Triggiani, Liliana Belgioia, Isacco Desideri, Salvatore Grisanti, Michela Buglione, Stefano Maria Magrini

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Abstract

Purpose: This study describes the long-term survival and toxicity outcomes of a multicenter randomized phase 2 trial comparing radiation therapy (RT) plus cisplatin (CDDP) or cetuximab (CTX) as first line treatment in locally advanced head and neck cancer (LASCCHN). Methods and Materials: Between January 2011 and August 2014, 70 patients were enrolled and randomized to receive RT plus weekly CDDP (40 mg/m2) or CTX (250 mg/m2 plus a loading dose of 400 mg/m2). This updated series focuses on late toxicities (graded by using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0) and long-term survival outcomes in terms of local control, overall survival, cancer-specific survival, and metastasis-free survival (MFS). A supplementary analysis based on human papilloma virus (HPV) status was also performed. Results: No statistically significant difference was found in terms of late effects (xerostomia, fibrosis, mucosal atrophy, weight loss). In the CDDP arm and the CTX arm, 5-year local control rates were 67% and 48%; 5-year MFS rates were 83% and 97%; 5-year overall survival rates were 61% and 52%; and 5-year cancer-specific survival rates were 70% and 59%, respectively. None of these differences reached statistical significance. A subgroup analysis by HPV status and anatomic subsites revealed that in HPV+ oropharyngeal carcinoma, better survival was obtained in the CDDP arm (although statistical tests were not performed owing to the small sample size). Conversely, no statistically significant differences were observed in HPV– oropharyngeal carcinoma and other anatomic subsites, except for the confirmed better MFS rates of the CTX arm. Conclusions: Long-term results are in line with current literature suggesting that RT + CTX is inferior to RT + CDDP for the definitive treatment of LASCCHN. However, if not as an alternative to CDDP, CTX might still play a role in LASCCHN, particularly in HPV– cases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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    Maddalo, M., Borghetti, P., Tomasini, D., Corvò, R., Bonomo, P., Petrucci, A., Paiar, F., Lastrucci, L., Bonù, M. L., Greco, D., Costa, L., Pegurri, L., Triggiani, L., Belgioia, L., Desideri, I., Grisanti, S., Buglione, M., & Magrini, S. M. (Accepted/In press). Cetuximab and Radiation Therapy Versus Cisplatin and Radiation Therapy for Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer: Long-Term Survival and Toxicity Outcomes of a Randomized Phase 2 Trial. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.02.637