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      Randomized trial of radiation therapy versus concomitant chemotherapy and radiation therapy for advanced-stage oropharynx carcinoma.

      JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute

      Treatment Outcome, Adult, Aged, Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic, administration & dosage, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, therapeutic use, Carboplatin, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Fluorouracil, Humans, Infusions, Intravenous, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Staging, Oropharyngeal Neoplasms, drug therapy, pathology, radiotherapy, Radiotherapy Dosage, Radiotherapy, Adjuvant, Survival Analysis

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          Abstract

          We designed a randomized clinical trial to test whether the addition of three cycles of chemotherapy during standard radiation therapy would improve disease-free survival in patients with stages III and IV (i.e., advanced oropharynx carcinoma). A total of 226 patients have been entered in a phase III multicenter, randomized trial comparing radiotherapy alone (arm A) with radiotherapy with concomitant chemotherapy (arm B). Radiotherapy was identical in the two arms, delivering, with conventional fractionation, 70 Gy in 35 fractions. In arm B, patients received during the period of radiotherapy three cycles of a 4-day regimen containing carboplatin (70 mg/m(2) per day) and 5-fluorouracil (600 mg/m(2) per day) by continuous infusion. The two arms were equally balanced with regard to age, sex, stage, performance status, histology, and primary tumor site. Radiotherapy compliance was similar in the two arms with respect to total dose, treatment duration, and treatment interruption. The rate of grades 3 and 4 mucositis was statistically significantly higher in arm B (71%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 54%-85%) than in arm A (39%; 95% CI = 29%-56%). Skin toxicity was not different between the two arms. Hematologic toxicity was higher in arm B as measured by neutrophil count and hemoglobin level. Three-year overall actuarial survival and disease-free survival rates were, respectively, 51% (95% CI = 39%-68%) versus 31% (95% CI = 18%-49%) and 42% (95% CI = 30%-57%) versus 20% (95% CI = 10%-33%) for patients treated with combined modality versus radiation therapy alone (P =.02 and.04, respectively). The locoregional control rate was improved in arm B (66%; 95% CI = 51%-78%) versus arm A (42%; 95% CI = 31%-56%). The statistically significant improvement in overall survival that was obtained supports the use of concomitant chemotherapy as an adjunct to radiotherapy in the management of carcinoma of the oropharynx.

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          Most cited references 21

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          • Abstract: found
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          Induction chemotherapy plus radiation compared with surgery plus radiation in patients with advanced laryngeal cancer. The Department of Veterans Affairs Laryngeal Cancer Study Group.

           WK Hong,  GT Wolf,  S Gross (1991)
          We performed a prospective, randomized study in patients with previously untreated advanced (Stage III or IV) laryngeal squamous carcinoma to compare the results of induction chemotherapy followed by definitive radiation therapy with those of conventional laryngectomy and postoperative radiation. Three hundred thirty-two patients were randomly assigned to receive either three cycles of chemotherapy (cisplatin and fluorouracil) and radiation therapy or surgery and radiation therapy. The clinical tumor response was assessed after two cycles of chemotherapy, and patients with a response received a third cycle followed by definitive radiation therapy (6600 to 7600 cGy). Patients in whom ther was no tumor response or who had locally recurrent cancers after chemotherapy and radiation therapy underwent salvage laryngectomy. After two cycles of chemotherapy, the clinical tumor response was complete in 31 percent of the patients and partial in 54 percent. After a median follow-up of 33 months, the estimated 2-year survival was 68 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 60 to 76 percent) for both treatment groups (P = 0.9846). Patterns of recurrence differed significantly between the two groups, with more local recurrences (P = 0.0005) and fewer distant metastases (P = 0.016) in the chemotherapy group than in the surgery group. A total of 59 patients in the chemotherapy group (36 percent) required total laryngectomy. The larynx was preserved in 64 percent of the patients overall and 64 percent of the patients who were alive and free of disease. These preliminary results suggest a new role for chemotherapy in patients with advanced laryngeal cancer and indicate that a treatment strategy involving induction chemotherapy and definitive radiation therapy can be effective in preserving the larynx in a high percentage of patients, without compromising overall survival.
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            Hyperfractionated irradiation with or without concurrent chemotherapy for locally advanced head and neck cancer.

            Radiotherapy is often the primary treatment for advanced head and neck cancer, but the rates of locoregional recurrence are high and survival is poor. We investigated whether hyperfractionated irradiation plus concurrent chemotherapy (combined treatment) is superior to hyperfractionated irradiation alone. Patients with advanced head and neck cancer who were treated only with hyperfractionated irradiation received 125 cGy twice daily, for a total of 7500 cGy. Patients in the combined-treatment group received 125 cGy twice daily, for a total of 7000 cGy, and five days of treatment with 12 mg of cisplatin per square meter of body-surface area per day and 600 mg of fluorouracil per square meter per day during weeks 1 and 6 of irradiation. Two cycles of cisplatin and fluorouracil were given to most patients after the completion of radiotherapy. Of 122 patients who underwent randomization, 116 were included in the analysis. Most patients in both treatment groups had unresectable disease. The median follow-up was 41 months (range, 19 to 86). At three years the rate of overall survival was 55 percent in the combined-therapy group and 34 percent in the hyperfractionation group (P=0.07). The relapse-free survival rate was higher in the combined-treatment group (61 percent vs. 41 percent, P=0.08). The rate of locoregional control of disease at three years was 70 percent in the combined-treatment group and 44 percent in the hyperfractionation group (P=0.01). Confluent mucositis developed in 77 percent and 75 percent of the two groups, respectively. Severe complications occurred in three patients in the hyperfractionation group and five patients in the combined-treatment group. Combined treatment for advanced head and neck cancer is more efficacious and not more toxic than hyperfractionated irradiation alone.
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              TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours

               P Hermanek,  L H Sobin (1987)
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