Outcome of recurrent and metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer patients after first line platinum and cetuximab therapy

Marco Siano, Gabriele Infante, Carlo Resteghini, Maria Chiara Cau, Salvatore Alfieri, Cristiana Bergamini, Roberta Granata, Rosalba Miceli, Laura Locati, Lisa Licitra, Paolo Bossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Second-line chemotherapy in recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer (r/mHNSCC) patients showed dismal results with limited tumor response and reduced life expectancy. Outside of clinical trials, data on efficacy of second line treatment after first line anti-EGFR-AB combination therapy are not available. Material and methods Data regarding r/mHNSCC consecutive pts treated with cetuximab and platinum from 2009 to 2014 at our center were retrospectively collected. The analyses of response, Progression-Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS), each evaluated starting from first and second-line treatment, were performed. Survival curves were estimated with the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Results We identified 117 patients treated with first-line platinum and cetuximab-based therapy. Sixty-four (55%) patients did not receive second-line treatment due to worsening in performance status, 2 were not assessable for response thus 51 patients were included for analysis. Fifty-six percent were smokers/former smokers and 78% were male. Primary tumor sites were oropharynx (39%), oral cavity (31%), larynx/hypopharynx (24%) and others (6%). Regimens used in second-line were mostly monotherapies. Twenty-one % of the patients were treated within a clinical trial. Response rate (PR, CR) was 6% with 45% showing SD as best response. Median PFS was 2.2 months (95%CI:1.5–2.8 months) and OS 6.1 months (95%CI:3.7–7.2 months). Conclusions Within our single center experience only half of the patients with r/mHNSCC were able to receive second-line treatment. Response rate was unsatisfactory, but median OS seems higher than previously reported in an anti-EGFR-AB naïve population (Leon 2005).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalOral Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Anti-EGFR
  • Chemotherapy
  • Head & neck cancer
  • Metastatic
  • Recurrent
  • Second line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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