In most cases head and neck tumors manifest themselves on a local- regional level giving rise to highly mutilating pathologies with psycho- social repercussions. Surgery and radiotherapy are effective treatments for limited neoplasms (stage I-II). On the other hand, after surgery and/or radiotherapy, the treatment of locally advanced tumors (stage III-IV) or local recurrences and/or distant metastases is still problematic. For this reason chemotherapy, initially used only as a palliative, is today associated with other treatments to achieve better results both in terms of survival and disease-free time spans. Hence chemotherapy must be considered part of any multimodal primary treatment for advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. In fact, numerous clinical studies have clearly demonstrated that adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy has a highly relative effect on survival in locally advanced diseases and that the incidence of distant metastases is reduced. This is not, however, followed by a similar reduction in local recurrences which are often the cause of death in such patients. It would, on the other hand, appear that survival is improved with integrated radio- chemotherapy. Immunochemotherapy, which has not as yet provided significant clinical results in cases of advanced tumors and/or metastases, must still be evaluated in the treatment of locally limited neoplasms. Organ preservation, which proves feasible in the larynx, leads one to hope it can be applied in other head and neck sites. The future balance leans in favor of the multidisciplinary approach and multi-center studies must be performed so that an adequate number of cases can be gathered over a brief period. This will make it possible to answer those questions and, at times, illusions which accompany chemotherapy in the treatment of advanced head and neck tumors.
|Translated title of the contribution||Chemotherapy in head and neck carcinoma|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|
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