Is the combination of Cetuximab with chemo-radiotherapy regimens worthwhile in the treatment of locally advanced head and neck cancer? A review of current evidence

Gianmauro Numico, Pierfrancesco Franco, Antonella Cristofano, Fernanda Migliaccio, Silvia Spinazzé, Nicola Silvestris, Domenico Cante, Piera Sciacero, Maria Rosa La Porta, Franco Girelli, Umberto Ricardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The administration of Cetuximab in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy has shown clear survival improvements within the locally advanced and the relapsed/metastatic settings respectively. These results have provided the clinical rational for the inclusion of Cetuximab into chemo-radiation regimens. Trials assessing the combination of Cetuximab with induction chemotherapy, concomitant chemo-radiotherapy or both are reviewed. Taken together, their results suggest that the addition of Cetuximab is promising in trials of induction chemotherapy, showing almost uniformly response rates higher than historical controls. In combination with concomitant hyperfractionated radiotherapy and Cisplatin the results of the RTOG 0522 trial do not suggest any benefit. However a positive effect cannot be excluded with other schedules. Although feasibility has been universally suggested, adding Cetuximab implies some toxicity enhancement. Single local and systemic toxicities are more frequent and supposedly the overall treatment intensity is increased. Moreover the drug-specific toxicities are potentially severe and deserve timely recognition and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Keywords

  • Cetuximab
  • Chemo-radiotherapy
  • EGFR
  • Head and neck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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