Conventional Radiotherapy with Concurrent Weekly Cisplatin in Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancers of Squamous Cell Origin - a Single Institution Experience

  • Dimri, Kislay (Department of Radiotherapy, Government Medical College) ;
  • Pandey, Awadhesh Kumar (Department of Radiotherapy, Government Medical College) ;
  • Trehan, Romeeta (Department of Radiotherapy, Government Medical College) ;
  • Rai, Bhavana (Department of Radiotherapy, Institute of Medical Education and Research) ;
  • Kumar, Anup (Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences)
  • Published : 2013.11.30


Background: Platinum based concurrent chemo-radiation is the de-facto standard of care in the non-surgical management of locally-advanced head and neck cancer of squamous origin. Three-weekly single agent cisplatin at 100 $mg/m^2$ concurrent with radical radiotherapy has demonstrated consistent improvement in loco-regional control and survival. This improvement is however at the cost of considerable hematologic toxicity and poor overall compliance. The routine use of this regime is improbable in developing countries with limited resources. We therefore aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of an alternative regime of weekly cisplatin and concurrent radiotherapy in such patients. Materials and Methods: January-05 and April-12, 188 patients of locally-advanced head and neck cancer of squamous origin were treated with concurrent weekly-cisplatin at $35mg/m^2$ and conventional radiotherapy 60-66Gy/30-33 fractions/5days per week. Results: Overall, 95% patients received planned doses of RT while 74% completed within the stipulated overall treatment time of <50 days. Eighty-two percent received at-least 5 weekly cycles. Grade-III/IV mucositis was seen in 58%/9% respectively, which resulted in mean weight loss of 9.2% from a pre-treatment mean of 54.5 kg. Grade-III hematologic toxicity-0.5%; grade II nephrotoxicity-2.5% and grade III emesis-3% were also seen. Grade-III/IV subcutaneous toxicity-10%/1% and grade-III/IV xerostomia-10%/0% were observed. Complete responses at the primary site, regional nodes and overall disease were seen in 86%, 89% and 83% patients respectively. The median and 5-years disease-free survival were 26 months and 39.4% respectively, while the median and overall survival were 27 months and 41.8% respectively. Conclusions: Weekly-cisplatin at 35 $mg/m^2$ when delivered concurrently with conventional radical RT (at-least 66y/33 fractions) in locally-advanced head and neck cancer is well tolerated with minimal hematologic and neprologic toxicity and can be routinely delivered on an out-patient basis. It is an effective alternative to the standard 3-weekly cisplatin especially in the context of developing countries.


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