We treated 60 patients with cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy before definitive surgery and/or radiation. All had squamous cell tumors of the head and neck, stages II to IV, M 0 . Twelve patients (20%) achieved a complete remission after chemotherapy. Eight of these patients showed no histologic evidence of residual disease after biopsy or surgery. Definitive local therapy with surgery and/or radiation was carried out on almost all patients regardless of the extent of the response to preceding chemotherapy. Chemotherapy-induced complete responders have had an improved survival rate in comparison with patients achieving a partial response or less. The extent of primary tumor correlates inversely with a complete response to chemotherapy.
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