Combined simultaneous cisplatin/fluorouracil chemotherapy and split course radiation in head and neck cancer

S. G. Taylor, A. K. Murthy, D. D. Caldarelli, J. L. Showel, K. Kiel, K. L. Griem, B. B. Mittal, M. Kies, J. C. Hutchinson, D. Holinger, R. Campanella, T. R. Witt, S. Hoover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Fifty-three patients with stage III (eight patients, 15%), stage IV (36 patients, 68%), or recurrent disease (nine patients, 17%) entered a study of simultaneous cisplatin, 60 mg/m2 day 1, fluorouracil (5-FU) infusion, 800 mg/m2 days 1 to 5, and radiation, 2 Gy days 1 to 5, every other week for a total of seven cycles (70 Gy in 13 weeks). Patient acceptance was high, with only two patients (4%) refusing to complete therapy. The median actual dose delivered was 88% of the planned dose for cisplatin, 78% for 5-FU, and 70 Gy for radiation. Weight loss of 10% or more and severe mucositis were the most common side effects (53% and 48% incidence, respectively). All patients were followed at least 1 year (median, 51 months). While the complete response rate (55%) seemed no better than that reported in other series, freedom of progression of regional disease (73%), and the survival of all patients (median, 37 months) were substantially improved. Only 33% of partial responders have failed regionally, while 15% of complete responders have failed regionally (P > .10), which indicates that clinical assessment of response was unreliable. Stage, the presence of N3 disease, and delivery of less than the median actual dose received of 5-FU (but not cisplatin) were significantly associated with failure. This regimen is feasible and tolerable in this difficult patient population. It generally requires no special forced feeding techniques. Survival results from this limited institution study appear better than those using sequential multimodality therapies. With such favorable regional control, this approach may offer an alternative in the future to radical surgery and radiation in resectable disease. More definitive evaluation seems warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-856
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Combined simultaneous cisplatin/fluorouracil chemotherapy and split course radiation in head and neck cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this