Induction chemotherapy followed by concomitant chemoradiotherapy in the treatment of locoregionally advanced oropharyngeal cancer

C. A. Mantz, E. E. Vokes, K. Stenson, M. S. Kies, B. Mittal, M. E. Witt, M. A. List, R. R. Weichselbaum, D. J. Haraf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Locoregionally advanced oropharyngeal cancer has been conventionally treated with either surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy or radiotherapy alone, and clinical and functional outcomes have been poor. Chemoradiotherapy has been demonstrated to improve functional outcome and disease control over conventional treatment in recent randomized head and neck trials. Herein, we report overall survival, progression-free survival, and patterns of failure in locoregionally advanced oropharyngeal cancer treated with induction chemotherapy with or without conservative surgery followed by concomitant chemoradiation. MATERIALS AND METHODS Three cycles of induction chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and interferon α-2b (PFL-IFN) were followed by conservative, organ-sparing surgery for residual disease. All patients then proceeded to concomitant chemoradiation consisting of seven or eight cycles of 5-fluorouracil, hydroxyurea, and a total radiotherapy dose of roughly 7000 cGy. RESULTS Sixty-one patients with predominantly stage IV disease were treated. Clinical complete response was observed in 65% of patients after induction therapy. The median follow-up was 68.0 months for survivors and 39.0 months for all patients. At 5 years, overall survival is 51%, progression-free survival is 64%, locoregional control is 70%, and distant control is 89%. Locoregional recurrence accounted for 80% of all initial failures. Only five radical surgeries (none were total glossectomy) were performed for initial disease control. Treatment-related toxicity accounted for four deaths. CONCLUSION PFL-IFN given with 5-fluorouracil, hydroxyurea, and radiotherapy produces a high rate of cures with organ preservation in a disease group that has traditionally fared poorly. Local and distant disease control and survival rates exceed those observed with more standard treatment approaches involving surgery and radiotherapy. Further investigation into chemoradiotherapy as a curative modality for this disease is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 26 2001


  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Oropharyngeal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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