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Phase II study of intravenous melphalan (NSC-8806) in the treatment of patients with advanced squamous carcinoma of the head and neck


The Illinois Cancer Center entered 25 patients on a phase II trial of intravenous melphalan treating patients with recurrent, metastatic or locally advanced and inoperable squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. All patients had bi-dimensionally measurable disease, at least a sixty day life expectancy, and adequate performance status (ECOG scale ≤2). All patients except one had received prior radiotherapy, chemotherapy or both. Melphalan dosage was 30 mg/m2 every three weeks. Twenty-four patients were evaluable for response. One patient with laryngeal carcinoma had a clinical complete response of a nodal metastasis. Four patients had stabilization of disease for one to three months. There was formidable toxicity, including neutropenia (ANC < 1000/μl 36%), and thrombocytopenia (< 50,000/μl 32%). There were no drug-related deaths. Melphalan administered intravenously does not appear to be efficacious therapy in patients with previously treated advanced head and neck squamous carcinomas.

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Correspondence to Merrill S. Kies.

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Kies, M.S., Grinblatt, D., Runge-Morris, M. et al. Phase II study of intravenous melphalan (NSC-8806) in the treatment of patients with advanced squamous carcinoma of the head and neck. Invest New Drugs 12, 45–47 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00873235

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  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Melphalan
  • Neutropenia
  • Squamous Carcinoma
  • Measurable Disease