Treatment of locally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck with concurrent radio-chemotherapy: Randomized comparison of cisplatin versus carboplatin

G. Gasparini, A. Testolin, S. Maluta, V. Cristoferi, F. Pozza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Several phase II studies have shown that concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy (RT) improves the response rates and locoregional control in patients with advanced, unresectable squamous-cell carcinoma of the headand neck (H and N). However, it is still unclear which is the drug of choice to be given with RT. We therefore conducted a randomizcd comparison of cisplatin (CDDP)-RT versus carboplatin (CRP)-RT in such patients. The two platinum compounds were given at equitoxic doses. The primary objective of the study was to compare the side effects and the response rates of the two regimens. Radiotherapy was given at conventional dosages, 2 Gy for 5 days every week for a total dose of 64 Gy with CDDP 80 mg/m2 or CRP 375 mg/m2 for three cycles on days 1, 21 and 42. At present 53 patients are entered in the study: 27 in the CDDP arm and 26 in the CRP. The two arms were balanced for all the pre-treatment characteristics. Both the schedules were well tolerated. However, incidence of nausea and vomiting (p = 0.0045); anemia (p = 0.032) and peripheral neuropathy (p = 0.032) was significantly greater with CDDP-RT as compared to CRP-RT. On the other hand, CRP-RT gives a significantly higher incidence of stomatitis (p = 0.0067) and a marginally worse thrombocytopenia (p = 0.09). The complete response (CR) rates were similar in the two arms (55.5% in the CDDP-RT versus 61.5% in that CRP-RT, respectively) as well as the overall response rates (92.5% versus 84.5%, respectively; p = 0.36). The estimated 1- and 2 year overall and disease-free survival rates were not significantly different in the two arms. In both the groups logistic-regression models showed that those patients with a CR (p = 0.017); stage III (p = 0.011); smaller primary (p = 0.025) and limited node-involvement (p <0.001) had a significant better survival. We conclude that concurrent chemo-radiotherapy is an effective and safe treatment for patients with locally advanced H and N cancer. The combination CRP-RT possess a similar activity but a different, and perhaps a more favorable, spectrum of toxicity when compared to the CDDP-RT therapy. Survival results need to be assessed in a larger series and followed for a more prolonged time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Volume2
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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