Concurrent chemoradiotherapy for N2 or N3 squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck from an occult primary

A. Argiris, S. M. Smith, K. Stenson, B. B. Mittal, H. J. Pelzer, M. S. Kies, D. J. Haraf, E. E. Vokes

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43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Our aim was to explore the use of concurrent chemoradiotherapy in the management of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck from an occult primary (HNCOP). Patients and methods: From 1991 to 2000, 25 patients with T0N2M0 or T0N3M0 HNCOP were entered into five sequential phase II clinical trials. Chemoradiotherapy consisted of a split course of radiotherapy with concurrent 5-fluorouracil and hydroxyurea either alone or with cisplatin, or paclitaxel. Two of the five protocols incorporated induction chemotherapy. Results: Nodal stage was N2a in five patients (20%), N2b in 13 (52%), N2c in one (4%) and N3 in six (24%). Twenty-two patients (88%) underwent neck dissection; 14 of 22 patients underwent neck dissection before initiating protocol therapy. Total radiation doses of 55-75 Gy (median 60 Gy) were delivered; radiation fields included the potential sites of mucosal primaries and the neck bilaterally. Selected patients received a radiation boost to the involved neck. With a median follow-up of 3.9 years, three patients have progressed (one local, two distant) and seven patients have died. Deaths were due to disease progression (three) or unrelated causes (four). No metachronous primaries developed. The 5-year progression-free and overall survival was 87% and 75%, respectively. Conclusion: Combined-modality treatment with intensive chemoradiotherapy results in excellent disease control and long-term survival for patients with N2-N3 HNCOP and compares favorably with traditional therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1306-1311
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Chemotherapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Occult primary
  • Radiotherapy
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

Cite this

Argiris, A., Smith, S. M., Stenson, K., Mittal, B. B., Pelzer, H. J., Kies, M. S., Haraf, D. J., & Vokes, E. E. (2003). Concurrent chemoradiotherapy for N2 or N3 squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck from an occult primary. Annals of Oncology, 14(8), 1306-1311. https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdg330