Induction chemotherapy with docetaxel, cisplatin and capecitabine, followed by combined cetuximab and radiotherapy in patients with locally advanced inoperable squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: A phase I-II study

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Objectives: To replace 5-fluorouracil with capecitabine within a trial of induction chemotherapy followed by cetuximab plus radiotherapy (RT) in patients with locally advanced (LA) squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Also, to replace cisplatin with cetuximab after induction chemotherapy. Methods: Docetaxel and cisplatin were given at 75 mg/m2, while capecitabine was initially given at 500 mg/m2 twice a day and subsequently escalated. The maximum tolerated dose was used for the phase II study. Results: Seven patients were enrolled. At dose level 1, two dose-limiting toxicities were observed in the first 4 patients (grade 4 neutropenia and grade 3 diarrhea). In both patients, capecitabine was withdrawn and toxicities resolved. Dose escalation was halted and a lower capecitabine dose (750 mg/m2 daily) was selected. Two complete responses and five partial responses were observed after induction chemotherapy. Four patients were evaluable for response after cetuximab-RT (3 complete response and 1 partial response). Conclusion: Combined chemoradiotherapy is still the gold standard in LA SCCHN and no studies currently support the use of early induction chemotherapy. Our study did not contribute toward addressing this issue since it was discontinued early because of toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-254
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013



  • Capecitabine
  • Cetuximab
  • Concomitant chemoradiotherapy
  • Docetaxel
  • Induction chemotherapy
  • Locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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