Intraarterial chemotherapy through carotid transposition in advanced head and neck cancer

F. Claudio, G. Comella, L. Claudio, S. Toma, F. Cacace, F. Coucourde, A. M. Bevilacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report results of intraarterial chemotherapy (IAC) in patients with advanced unresectable (T4, N0-3, MO) squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the oral cavity, oropharynx, or facial skin, given through a subcutaneously transposed external carotid artery by a fine gauge needle. Forty patients entered the study and 39 were evaluable for clinical response and toxicity. The infusion technique was done in two consecutive series of patients with the same characteristics: 17 had treatment with vincristine, bleomycin, and methotrexate (VBM), and 22 received cisplatin and bleomycin (PB) with a median number of six and five cycles, respectively. The total objective response (OR) rate was 76.9%, which included 12.8% of complete response (CR). A better percentage of OR was attained in BCC than SCC (83.3% versus 75.8%), in tumors of the skin of the face than other sites (87.5% versus 74.2%), and in the group that received PB than the group that received VBM (77.3% versus 76.5%). Our series had an overall technique-related toxicity of 18%; 10.3% with neurologic disturbances and 7.7% with skin inflammation (almost all were reversible). The most common systemic toxic side effects were generally mild and well tolerated (30.8%), whereas major toxicities (severe modifications of the cardiopulmonary function) occurred in four patients (10.3%) in the group that received VBM. After chemotherapy, 28 patients (71.8%) were deemed resectable; 23 of these patients (82.1%) agreed to surgery. Pathologic CR were obtained in 13 patients (56.5%). Our technique has significant advantages over the conventional methods of infusion, because tumor perfusion is feasible and selective, technique-related and catheter-related complications are almost completely eliminated, and fatal drug-related side effects are avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1471
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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