Bone or cartilage invasion by advanced head and neck cancer: Intra-arterial supradose cisplatin chemotherapy and concomitant radiotherapy for organ preservation

Sandeep Samant*, K. Thomas Robbins, Parvesh Kumar, Jennie Z. Ma, Francisco Vieira, Catherine Hanchett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: Invasion of bony or cartilaginous structures by advanced upper aerodigestive tract cancer has been considered an indication for surgery on the basis of historic experience of poor responsiveness to radiation therapy. At University of Tennessee-Memphis, patients with advanced head and neck cancer have been treated on a protocol of concomitant intra-arterial (targeted) cisplatin and conventional radiation therapy. Objective: To compare the efficacy, in terms of disease control and survival, of this protocol in patients with T4 squamous cell cancers and invasion of bony or cartilaginous structures (group 1; n = 45) vs those with T4 disease but no bone or cartilage involvement (group 2; n = 90). Design: Subset analysis of protocol database and retrospective chart review. Methods: Treatment consisted of 4 weekly intraarterial infusions of cisplatin (150 mg/m2 per week), with simultaneous systemic neutralization by intravenous sodium thiosulfate (9 mg/m2), and concurrent radiation therapy at 180 rad (1.8 Gy) or 200 rad (2 Gy) per fraction to a planned total of 6600 to 7400 rad (66-74 Gy) to the primary site or overt nodal disease. Presence of bone or cartilage invasion was established by review of tumor diagrams of clinical findings and computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging reports. Results: Of 135 patients who had T4 disease and a minimum follow-up of 9 months (median, 40 months), 45 had clinical or radiologic evidence of bone (n = 29: mandible, 12; maxilla, 9; sphenoid, 3; hyoid, 6) and/or cartilage (n= 18: thyroid, 16; cricoid, 4) invasion (some patients had involvement of more than 1 site). The rate of complete response in group 1 (66.7%) was not significantly different from that in group 2 (71.1%) (X2 test, P=.79). The 2-year overall actuarial survival for group 1 (46.3%; 95% confidence interval, 30.3%-62.3%) was not significantly different (generalized Wilcoxon test, P =.36) from that of group 2 (36.9%; 95% confidence interval, 25.5%-48.4%). A marked trend was noted for higher response rates in cases of cartilage invasion (81.2%) than in those with bone invasion (58.6%) (P=.15). Conclusion: Equivalent efficacy of treatment in the 2 groups suggests that targeted chemoradiation can be a definitive therapeutic option in patients with advanced head and neck cancer invading bony or cartilaginous structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1451-1456
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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