Twenty-three patients with advanced untreated head and neck cancer, nine patients with recurrent cancer, and six patients with recurrent cancer who underwent surgery and had postoperative persistence of tumor were treated with three 2-week courses of irradiation (1,500 cGy in 10 fractions each) concurrently with cisplatin and a 5-day infusion of 5-fluorouracil. A fourth 2-week course of irradiation (2,000 cGy in 10 fractions) brought the final tumor dose to 6,500 cGy. Twenty patients in the untreated group and three patients in the recurrent group (33%) had a complete response. There were 10 local recurrences in the untreated group (43%), seven in the recurrent group (78%), and three in the persistent group (50%). At 17 months after the start of treatment, the survival rate for the untreated patients was 51%, for the patients in the recurrent group it was 11%, and for the patients in the persistent group it was 20% (P = .03). Most patients experienced toxicity, including nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and mucositis. Clinical trials are necessary to determine whether simultaneous chemotherapy and radiation therapy is an improved method of treatment for advanced head and neck cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging