JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Single-agent docetaxel in patients with platinum-refractory metastatic or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).

BACKGROUND: The objective of this retrospective study was to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of single-agent docetaxel in patients with platinum-refractory squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).

METHODS: Platinum-refractory disease was defined as cancer with documented tumor progression during platinum-based treatment or recurrence within 6 months after platinum-based chemoradiotherapy. Patients fulfilling the following criteria were enrolled: histologically confirmed SCCHN, excluding nasopharyngeal cancer; measurable metastatic lesions as assessed by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST); and platinum-refractory disease. Docetaxel (60 mg/m2) was administered every 3-4 weeks and continued unless there was evidence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

RESULTS: Twenty patients were recruited. Overall response rate was 10% (2/20) and tumor control rate was 25% (5/20). Median progression-free and median overall survival times were 1.7 and 4.6 months, respectively. The most common hematological toxicities were leucopenia (grade 4: 35%) and neutropenia (grade 4: 30%). Grade 3 febrile neutropenia and grade 3 mucositis (functional/symptomatic) each occurred in two patients (10%). One fatal bleeding occurred during this treatment, however, the relation between this event and docetaxel was unlikely. Median inpatient period during treatment was 5.4 days (range, 0-50 days).

CONCLUSION: A single-agent docetaxel regimen appeared to offer an acceptable clinical profile in patients with platinum-refractory SCCHN.

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