, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 35-42
Date: 20 Oct 2012

Low-dose fractionated radiation with induction chemotherapy for locally advanced head and neck cancer: 5 year results of a prospective phase II trial



This study aims to report the long-term outcomes of a novel treatment approach utilizing induction low-dose fractionated radiation therapy (LDFRT) and chemotherapy for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (SCCHN).


We prospectively enrolled 40 patients with locally advanced SCCHN (77 % stage IV) on a phase II clinical trial and treated with induction paclitaxel (225 mg/m2), carboplatin (AUC 6), and LDFRT (80 cGy BID on days 1 and 2) every 21 days for two cycles.


Forty patients enrolled; 39 were evaluable. The acute toxicity and response data have been previously reported; overall response rate (RR) was 82 %. After induction, definitive therapy was concurrent chemoradiation (CRT) in 51 %, XRT alone in 39 %, surgery in 5 %, and surgery and XRT in 5 %. The long-term outcomes are now reported with a median follow-up of 83 months. Locoregional control (LRC) is 80 % and distant control (DC) is 77 %. Five-year overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival, and progression-free survival (PFS) are 62 %, 66 %, and 58 %, respectively.


Induction chemotherapy with LDFRT has a high initial RR, comparable toxicity to two-drug induction regimens, but adds a third novel and effective agent, LDFRT. Five-year follow-up shows favorable outcomes compared to historical controls and excellent compliance with definitive therapy. This novel treatment approach is now planned for phase 3 trial evaluation.

This work was presented in abstract and poster form at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), Miami, FL, October 2nd–October 4th, 2011.
Supported by an unrestricted research grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The Lexington Veterans Administration Medical Center provided resources and the use of facilities to support this research investigation.