Purpose: We incorporated cetuximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), into the induction therapy and subsequent chemoradiotherapy of head and neck cancer (HNC). Patients and Methods: Patients with locally advanced HNC, including squamous and undifferentiated histologies, were treated with docetaxel 75 mg/m 2 day 1, cisplatin 75 mg/m 2 day 1, and cetuximab 250 mg/m 2 days 1, 8, and 15 (after an initial loading dose of 400 mg/m 2), termed TPE, repeated every 21 days for three cycles, followed by radiotherapy with concurrent cisplatin 30 mg/m2 and cetuximab weekly (XPE), and maintenance cetuximab for 6 months. Quality of life (QOL) was assessed using Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - Head and Neck. In situ hybridization (ISH) for human papillomavirus (HPV), immunohistochemistry for p16, and fluorescence ISH for EGFR gene copy number were performed on tissue microarrays. Results: Of 39 enrolled patients, 36 had stage IV disease and 23 an oropharyngeal primary. Acute toxicities during TPE included neutropenic fever (10%) and during XPE, grade 3 or 4 oral mucositis (54%) and hypomagnesemia (39%). With a median follow-up of 36 months, 3-year progression-free survival and overall survival were 70% and 74%, respectively. Eight patients progressed in locoregional sites, three in distant, and one in both. HPV positivity was not associated with treatment efficacy. No progression-free patient remained G-tube dependent. The H&N subscale QOL scores showed a significant decrement at 3 months after XPE, which normalized at 1 year. Conclusion: This cetuximab-containing regimen resulted in excellent long-term survival and safety, and warrants further evaluation in both HPV-positive and -negative HNC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research