JOURNAL ARTICLE

Reirradiation plus EGFR inhibition in locally recurrent and unresectable head and neck cancer: final results from a single institution

D Milanović, B Jeremić, A L Grosu, G Rücker, M Henke
Strahlentherapie und Onkologie: Organ der Deutschen Röntgengesellschaft ... [et Al] 2013, 189 (10): 842-8
23861154

PURPOSE: For some patients with recurrent, unresectable, and previously irradiated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), reirradiation (re-RT) may be a curative option. Chemotherapy with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibition is established as palliative management. This retrospective single-institutional study investigates feasibility, toxicity, and outcome of reirradiation (re-RT) combined with EGFR blockade for these patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between June 2008 and June 2012, 23 patients with inoperable and previously irradiated HNSCC were reirradiated. Concomitant EGFR blockade (cetuximab) was given initially at 400 mg/m2 two days prior to re-RT and weekly (250 mg/m2) thereafter. PET/CT imaging was fused with planning CT in 8 patients.

RESULTS: One patient died of anaphylactic shock during the first cetuximab administration; two discontinued treatment on their own request. In all, 20 patients completed re-RT (50.4-66.6 Gy) and received cetuximab as prescribed. Grade 3 acute side effects were documented for dermatitis (35%), dysphagia (30%), acneiform rash (30%), and mucositis (15%). The 1-year overall survival rate was 34.8% Median overall and progression-free survival times were 9 and 4.3 months, respectively. A multivariable analysis using the Cox regression model showed significant positive impact of acneiform rash (hazard ratio [HR] 0.1531, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.0383-0.6111), while a period from first radiation to re-RT longer than 120 months negatively (HR 0.1633, 95% CI 0.0305-0.8734) influenced patient survival.

CONCLUSION: re-RT with concurrent cetuximab was feasible. Compared to platinum-based chemotherapy with fluorouracil and cetuximab, this therapeutic approach did not demonstrate survival benefit. Prolonged intervals from first treatment to re-RT seem to be unfavorable.

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