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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 607-612

Toxicity and outcomes in combined modality treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: cisplatin versus cetuximab

1 Radiation, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2 Systemic Therapy Programs, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Cheryl C Ho
600 W. 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 4E6
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.126455

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Aims: The standard of care for locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is radiation therapy (RT) with concurrent cisplatin (CIS). Patients with renal or cardiac dysfunction, hearing loss or poor performance status (PS) may receive RT and cetuximab (CET) at our institution. This study compares treatment toxicities and outcomes. Methods and Materials: All patients treated with curative intent RT and concurrent CIS (100 mg/m 2 Day 1, 22, 43) or CET (400 mg/m 2 Day -7, 250 mg/m 2 weekly during RT) between August 2007 and July 2010 were reviewed and toxicity and outcomes analyzed. Results: Among 349 subjects (262 RT-CIS, 87 RT-CET) characteristics were similar except in age, head and neck subsite and RT fractionation. RT-CIS required more dose reductions, delays, and unplanned admissions and received less intended systemic therapy (ST). Weight loss and gastrostomy-tube use were similar. RT-CIS caused more nausea/vomiting, while RT-CET was associated with more dermatitis and acneiform rash. With mean follow-up of 20 months and 16 months, RT-CIS subjects experienced improved 1-year locoregional control (LRC) (90% vs. 72%, P < 0.01), disease-free survival (DFS) (83% vs. 67%, P < 0.01) and overall survival (OS) (90% vs. 80%, P = 0.04). On multivariate analysis type of ST was associated with LRC and DFS, but not OS. Conclusions: In patients with locally advanced HNSCC, CIS and CET were associated with different toxicity profiles. RT-CIS was associated with improved LRC and DFS, but similar OS compared to RT-CET.

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