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      Radiotherapy potentiation with weekly cisplatin compared to standard every 3 weeks cisplatin chemotherapy for locoregionally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

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          Despite its toxicity, cisplatin every 3 weeks (q3w) is the standard potentiation of chemo-radiotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. This study aimed to determine whether weekly cisplatin (q1w) could be a safe and effective alternative.

          Patients and methods

          Two hundred and sixty-two patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, irradiated in our institution with cisplatin (q1w or q3w) between January 2004 and December 2008, were retrospectively included. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated. Survival distributions were estimated by Kaplan–Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Prognostic effect of chemo-radiotherapy was explored using Cox model.


          A total of 165 and 97 patients received q1w and q3w cisplatin, respectively. Median age, stage at diagnosis, alcohol consumption, intensity-modulated radiation therapy use, median weight, and renal failure before radiotherapy were significantly different, showing lower risk in the q3w group. Q3w cisplatin was found to be more toxic in terms of weight loss, renal failure, worse chemotherapy plan completion, and grade 3/4 mucositis and dermatitis, with more patients requiring analgesics, secondary hospitalization, and radiotherapy interruption (≥3 days), and patients affected by long-term toxicities. With a median follow-up of 73 months (95% confidence interval [CI] [68.9–76.2]), OS was found to be significantly better with q3w (5 years OS: 62.3%; 95% CI [51.6–71.3]) than with q1w cisplatin (5 years OS: 52.6%; 95% CI [44.5–60.0]) (log-rank P=0.0146). More number of patients treated according to the q1w schedule experienced a recurrence: 47.3% vs 30.9% ( P=0.009). Thus, the PFS for q3w schedule was found to be globally better (5 years PFS: 55.8%; 95% CI [45.0–65.3]) than for q1w schedule (5 years PFS: 43.6%; 95% CI [35.9–51.0]) (log-rank P=0.0161). However, both multivariate analyses, OS and PFS, produce no significant hazard ratio for chemo-radiotherapy modality once adjusted on unbalanced covariates according to the descriptive analysis.


          Though q1w seemed to be safer than q3w according to the descriptive analysis, multivariate analyses failed to conclude about its efficiency. Therefore, we conclude that the q3w schedule should remain the standard and prospective comparisons are needed.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Chemoradiotherapy versus radiotherapy in patients with advanced nasopharyngeal cancer: phase III randomized Intergroup study 0099.

          The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) coordinated an Intergroup study with the participation of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG). This randomized phase III trial compared chemoradiotherapy versus radiotherapy alone in patients with nasopharyngeal cancers. Radiotherapy was administered in both arms: 1.8- to 2.0-Gy/d fractions Monday to Friday for 35 to 39 fractions for a total dose of 70 Gy. The investigational arm received chemotherapy with cisplatin 100 mg/m2 on days 1, 22, and 43 during radiotherapy; postradiotherapy, chemotherapy with cisplatin 80 mg/m2 on day 1 and fluorouracil 1,000 mg/m2/d on days 1 to 4 was administered every 4 weeks for three courses. Patients were stratified by tumor stage, nodal stage, performance status, and histology. Of 193 patients registered, 147 (69 radiotherapy and 78 chemoradiotherapy) were eligible for primary analysis for survival and toxicity. The median progression-free survival (PFS) time was 15 months for eligible patients on the radiotherapy arm and was not reached for the chemo-radiotherapy group. The 3-year PFS rate was 24% versus 69%, respectively (P < .001). The median survival time was 34 months for the radiotherapy group and not reached for the chemo-radiotherapy group, and the 3-year survival rate was 47% versus 78%, respectively (P = .005). One hundred eighty-five patients were included in a secondary analysis for survival. The 3-year survival rate for patients randomized to radiotherapy was 46%, and for the chemoradiotherapy group was 76% (P < .001). We conclude that chemoradiotherapy is superior to radiotherapy alone for patients with advanced nasopharyngeal cancers with respect to PFS and overall survival.
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            Phase III study of concurrent chemoradiotherapy versus radiotherapy alone for advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: positive effect on overall and progression-free survival.

            Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a radiosensitive and chemosensitive tumor. This randomized phase III trial compared concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) versus radiotherapy (RT) alone in patients with advanced NPC. From December 1993 to April 1999, 284 patients with 1992 American Joint Committee on Cancer stage III to IV (M0) NPC were randomly allocated into two arms. Similar dosage and fractionation of RT was administered in both arms. The investigational arm received two cycles of concurrent chemotherapy with cisplatin 20 mg/m(2)/d plus fluorouracil 400 mg/m(2)/d by 96-hour continuous infusion during the weeks 1 and 5 of RT. Survival analysis was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared by the log-rank test. Baseline patient characteristics were comparable in both arms. After a median follow-up of 65 months, 26.2% (37 of 141) and 46.2% (66 of 143) of patients developed tumor relapse in the CCRT and RT-alone groups, respectively. The 5-year overall survival rates were 72.3% for the CCRT arm and 54.2% for the RT-only arm (P =.0022). The 5-year progression-free survival rates were 71.6% for the CCRT group compared with 53.0% for the RT-only group (P =.0012). Although significantly more toxicity was noted in the CCRT arm, including leukopenia and emesis, compliance with the combined treatment was good. The second cycle of concurrent chemotherapy was refused by nine patients and was delayed for > or = 1 week for another nine patients. There were no treatment-related deaths in either arm. We conclude that CCRT is superior to RT alone for patients with advanced NPC in endemic areas.
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              Overall survival after concurrent cisplatin-radiotherapy compared with radiotherapy alone in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

              This phase III randomized study compared concurrent cisplatin-radiotherapy (CRT) versus radiotherapy (RT) alone in patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. A total of 350 patients were randomly assigned to receive external RT alone or concurrently with cisplatin at a dosage of 40 mg/m(2) weekly. The primary endpoint was overall survival, and the median follow-up was 5.5 years. The 5-year overall survival was 58.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 50.9% to 66.2%) for the RT arm and 70.3% (95% CI = 63.4% to 77.3%) for the CRT arm. In Cox regression analysis adjusted for T stage, age, and overall stage, the difference in overall survival was statistically significantly in favor of concurrent CRT (P = .049, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.71 [95% CI = 0.5 to 1.0]). Subgroup analysis demonstrated that there was no difference between overall survival in the arms for T1/T2 stage (P = .74, HR = 0.93 [95% CI = 0.59 to 1.4]), whereas there was a difference between the arms for T3/T4 stage (P = .013, HR = 0.51 [95% CI = 0.3 to 0.88]), favoring the CRT arm. The regimen of weekly concurrent CRT is a promising standard treatment strategy for locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                26 November 2015
                : 9
                : 6203-6210
                [1 ]Department of Medicine, University of Lyon, France
                [2 ]Biostatistics Unit, University of Lyon, France
                [3 ]Department of Radiotherapy, Centre Léon Bérard, University of Lyon, France
                [4 ]Department of Surgery, Hôpital Croix-Rousse, University of Lyon, Lyon, France
                [5 ]Department of Surgery, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, University of Lyon, Lyon, France
                [6 ]Department of Surgery, Centre Léon Bérard, University of Lyon, Lyon, France
                [7 ]Department of Surgery, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Université de Lyon, Pierre-Bénite, France
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jérôme Fayette, Department of Medicine, Centre Léon Bérard, University of Lyon, 28 rue Laennec, Lyon 69008, France, Tel +33 4 78 78 51 03, Fax +33 4 78 78 27 16, Email jerome.fayette@ 123456lyon.unicancer.fr
                © 2015 Fayette et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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