Paclitaxel, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil for patients with advanced or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Maha Hussain*, Shirish Gadgeel, Omer Kucuk, Wei Du, Walter Salwen, John Ensley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND. The combination of cisplatin and 5-flurouracil (5-FU) is considered standard therapy for patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Paclitaxel has exhibited single-agent activity in patients with this disease. The authors conducted this study to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of combining paclitaxel with cisplatin and 5-FU for patients with advanced or recurrent SCCHN. METHODS. Patients with recurrent, metastatic, or locally advanced SCCHN who had measurable or evaluable disease and no prior chemotherapy were eligible. The starting dose level consisted of paclitaxel 135 mg/m2 on Day 1, cisplatin 75 mg/m2 on Day 2, and 5-FU 1gm/m2/day on Days 2-6. Due to Grade 4 mucositis, dose level 1 of 5-FU was reduced to 800 mg/m2/day on Days 2-6 (for 7 patients), and subsequently the 5-FU dose was adjusted to 1 gm/m2/day on Days 2-5 (for 17 patients). RESULTS. Twenty-five patients were enrolled, with a median age of 60 years and a median Southwest Oncology Group performance status of 1. Of the 25 patients, 16 had recurrent disease, 3 had metastatic disease at diagnosis, and 6 had untreated locally advanced SCCHN. Ninety-nine courses of therapy were administered, with a median of 5 courses. Major toxicities were neutropenia and mucositis. Significant neurotoxicity or nephrotoxicity were not observed. There were two treatment-related deaths (one each due to mucositis and neutropenic pneumonia), and these precluded further dose escalation. Fifteen of the 25 patients (60%) achieved a major response. Of significance is the response rate of 58% (11 of 19 patients) in those with recurrent or metastatic disease who had a duration of response ranging from 3 to 19+ months. Two of these 19 patients continue to be in remission of 19+ and 15+ months' duration, respectively. The median survival for patients with recurrent or metastatic disease was 6 months (range, 1-26 months), with a 1-year survival rate of 37%. CONCLUSIONS. The dose and schedule for the combination of paclitaxel, 5-FU, and cisplatin as determined in this study are feasible, with encouraging outcomes and activity in patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN. The results of this trial warrant larger-scale evaluation to determine the role of this combination in the management of patients with this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2364-2369
Number of pages6
JournalCancer
Volume86
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999

Keywords

  • 5-fluorouracil
  • Cisplatin
  • Paclitaxel
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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