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      Phase III Randomized Trial of Induction Chemotherapy in Patients With N2 or N3 Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

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          Induction chemotherapy (IC) before radiotherapy lowers distant failure (DF) rates in locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). The goal of this phase III trial was to determine whether IC before chemoradiotherapy (CRT) further improves survival compared with CRT alone in patients with N2 or N3 disease.

          Patients and Methods

          Treatment-naive patients with nonmetastatic N2 or N3 SCCHN were randomly assigned to CRT alone (CRT arm; docetaxel, fluorouracil, and hydroxyurea plus radiotherapy 0.15 Gy twice per day every other week) versus two 21-day cycles of IC (docetaxel 75 mg/m 2 on day 1, cisplatin 75 mg/m 2 on day 1, and fluorouracil 750 mg/m 2 on days 1 to 5) followed by the same CRT regimen (IC + CRT arm). The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points included DF-free survival, failure pattern, and recurrence-free survival (RFS).


          A total of 285 patients were randomly assigned. The most common grade 3 to 4 toxicities during IC were febrile neutropenia (11%) and mucositis (9%); during CRT (both arms combined), they were mucositis (49%), dermatitis (21%), and leukopenia (18%). Serious adverse events were more common in the IC arm (47% v 28%; P = .002). With a minimum follow-up of 30 months, there were no statistically significant differences in OS (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.41), RFS, or DF-free survival.


          IC did not translate into improved OS compared with CRT alone. However, the study was underpowered because it did not meet the planned accrual target, and OS was higher than predicted in both arms. IC cannot be recommended routinely in patients with N2 or N3 locally advanced SCCHN.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Estimation of failure probabilities in the presence of competing risks: new representations of old estimators.

          A topic that has received attention in both the statistical and medical literature is the estimation of the probability of failure for endpoints that are subject to competing risks. Despite this, it is not uncommon to see the complement of the Kaplan-Meier estimate used in this setting and interpreted as the probability of failure. If one desires an estimate that can be interpreted in this way, however, the cumulative incidence estimate is the appropriate tool to use in such situations. We believe the more commonly seen representations of the Kaplan-Meier estimate and the cumulative incidence estimate do not lend themselves to easy explanation and understanding of this interpretation. We present, therefore, a representation of each estimate in a manner not ordinarily seen, each representation utilizing the concept of censored observations being 'redistributed to the right.' We feel these allow a more intuitive understanding of each estimate and therefore an appreciation of why the Kaplan-Meier method is inappropriate for estimation purposes in the presence of competing risks, while the cumulative incidence estimate is appropriate.
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            Deintensification candidate subgroups in human papillomavirus-related oropharyngeal cancer according to minimal risk of distant metastasis.

            To define human papillomavirus (HPV) -positive oropharyngeal cancers (OPC) suitable for treatment deintensification according to low risk of distant metastasis (DM). OPC treated with radiotherapy (RT) or chemoradiotherapy (CRT) from 2001 to 2009 were included. Outcomes were compared for HPV-positive versus HPV-negative patients. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified outcome predictors. Recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) stratified the DM risk. HPV status was ascertained in 505 (56%) of 899 consecutive OPCs. Median follow-up was 3.9 years. HPV-positive patients (n = 382), compared with HPV-negative patients (n = 123), had higher local (94% v 80%, respectively, at 3 years; P 10 reduced overall survival (HR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.7; P = .03) but did not impact RFS (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.7 to 1.9; P = .65). RPA segregated HPV-positive patients into low (T1-3N0-2c; DC, 93%) and high DM risk (N3 or T4; DC, 76%) groups and HPV-negative patients into different low (T1-2N0-2c; DC, 93%) and high DM risk (T3-4N3; DC, 72%) groups. The DC rates for HPV-positive, low-risk N0-2a or less than 10 pack-year N2b patients were similar for RT alone and CRT, but the rate was lower in the N2c subset managed by RT alone (73% v 92% for CRT; P = .02). HPV-positive T1-3N0-2c patients have a low DM risk, but N2c patients from this group have a reduced DC when treated with RT alone and seem less suited for deintensification strategies that omit chemotherapy.
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              Induction chemotherapy followed by concurrent chemoradiotherapy (sequential chemoradiotherapy) versus concurrent chemoradiotherapy alone in locally advanced head and neck cancer (PARADIGM): a randomised phase 3 trial.

              The relative efficacy of the addition of induction chemotherapy to chemoradiotherapy compared with chemoradiotherapy alone for patients with head and neck cancer is unclear. The PARADIGM study is a multicentre open-label phase 3 study comparing the use of docetaxel, cisplatin, and fluorouracil (TPF) induction chemotherapy followed by concurrent chemoradiotherapy with cisplatin-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy alone in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer. Adult patients with previously untreated, non-metastatic, newly diagnosed head and neck cancer were eligible. Patients were eligible if their tumour was either unresectable or of low surgical curability on the basis of advanced tumour stage (3 or 4) or regional-node stage (2 or 3, except T1N2), or if they were a candidate for organ preservation. Patients were randomly assigned (in a 1:1 ratio) to receive either induction chemotherapy with three cycles of TPF followed by concurrent chemoradiotherapy with either docetaxel or carboplatin or concurrent chemoradiotherapy alone with two cycles of bolus cisplatin. A computer-generated randomisation schedule using minimisation was prepared and the treatment assignment was done centrally at one of the study sites. Patients, study staff, and investigators were not masked to group assignment. Stratification factors were WHO performance status, primary disease site, and stage. The primary endpoint was overall survival. Analysis was by intention to treat. Patient accrual was terminated in December, 2008, because of slow enrolment. The trial is registered with, number NCT00095875. Between Aug 24, 2004, and Dec 29, 2008, we enrolled 145 patients across 16 sites. After a median follow-up of 49 months (IQR 39-63), 41 patients had died-20 in the induction chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy group and 21 in the chemoradiotherapy alone group. 3-year overall survival was 73% (95% CI 60-82) in the induction therapy followed by chemoradiotherapy group and 78% (66-86) in the chemoradiotherapy alone group (hazard ratio 1·09, 95% CI 0·59-2·03; p=0·77). More patients had febrile neutropenia in the induction chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy group (16 patients) than in the chemoradiotherapy alone group (one patient). Although survival results were good in both groups there was no difference noted between those patients treated with induction chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy and those who received chemoradiotherapy alone. We cannot rule out the possibility of a difference in survival going undetected due to early termination of the trial. Clinicians should still use their best judgment, based on the available data, in the decision of how to best treat patients. The addition of induction chemotherapy remains an appropriate approach for advanced disease with high risk for local or distant failure. Sanofi-Aventis. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Clinical Oncology
                American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
                September 01 2014
                September 01 2014
                : 32
                : 25
                : 2735-2743
                [1 ]Ezra E.W. Cohen, Theodore G. Karrison, Masha Kocherginsky, Jeffrey Mueller, Robyn Egan, Tanguy Y. Seiwert, Victoria M. Villaflor, Daniel J. Haraf, and Everett E. Vokes, University of Chicago, Chicago; Bruce E. Brockstein, North Shore University Health System, Evanston; Mark B. Agulnik and Bharat B. Mittal, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Chao H. Huang, University of Kansas and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Kansas City, KS; Furhan Yunus and Sandeep Samant, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN;...
                © 2014


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