, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 121-128
Date: 27 May 2012

A phase I study of temsirolimus plus carboplatin plus paclitaxel for patients with recurrent or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC)

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The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is aberrantly activated in many head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). This phase I study combines the mTORC1 inhibitor temsirolimus with carboplatin and paclitaxel.


This was a single institution phase I study for patients with R/M HNSCC with a standard 3 + 3 design. Three doses of temsirolimus were planned: 15, 20, and 25 mg. Due to excessive toxicity with the original study regimen, the protocol was amended to carboplatin AUC 1.5, paclitaxel 80 mg/m2, and temsirolimus (according to dose escalation plan), all on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle.


18 patients (14 male, 4 female) enrolled, with median age 56 years (range 33–78). The most common toxicities were anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and hyperglycemia. Among all patients treated, the confirmed objective partial response (cPR) rate was 22 %. DLT was not exceeded among 6 patients treated at dose level 3 of the revised protocol, and 4 of 6 subjects treated at this dose level had cPRs.


The phase II recommended regimen is temsirolimus 25 mg, carboplatin AUC 1.5, and paclitaxel 80 mg/m2, all on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. A phase II study of this regimen in R/M HNSCC is ongoing.