A prospective phase 2 trial of reirradiation with stereotactic body radiation therapy plus cetuximab in patients with previously irradiated recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

John A Vargo, Robert L Ferris, James Ohr, David A Clump, Kara S Davis, Umamaheswar Duvvuri, Seungwon Kim, Jonas T Johnson, Julie E Bauman, Michael K Gibson, Barton F Branstetter, Dwight E Heron
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2015 March 1, 91 (3): 480-8

PURPOSE: Salvage options for unresectable locally recurrent, previously irradiated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (rSCCHN) are limited. Although the addition of reirradiation may improve outcomes compared to chemotherapy alone, significant toxicities limit salvage reirradiation strategies, leading to suboptimal outcomes. We therefore designed a phase 2 protocol to evaluate the efficacy of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) plus cetuximab for rSCCHN.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: From July 2007 to March 2013, 50 patients >18 years of age with inoperable locoregionally confined rSCCHN within a previously irradiated field receiving ≥60 Gy, with a Zubrod performance status of 0 to 2, and normal hepatic and renal function were enrolled. Patients received concurrent cetuximab (400 mg/m(2) on day -7 and then 250 mg/m(2) on days 0 and +8) plus SBRT (40-44 Gy in 5 fractions on alternating days over 1-2 weeks). Primary endpoints were 1-year locoregional progression-free survival and National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0 graded toxicity.

RESULTS: Median follow-up for surviving patients was 18 months (range: 10-70). The 1-year local PFS rate was 60% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 44%-75%), locoregional PFS was 37% (95% CI: 23%-53%), distant PFS was 71% (95% CI: 54%-85%), and PFS was 33% (95% CI: 20%-49%). The median overall survival was 10 months (95% CI: 7-16), with a 1-year overall survival of 40% (95% CI: 26%-54%). At last follow-up, 69% died of disease, 4% died with disease, 15% died without progression, 10% were alive without progression, and 2% were alive with progression. Acute and late grade 3 toxicity was observed in 6% of patients respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: SBRT with concurrent cetuximab appears to be a safe salvage treatment for rSCCHN of short overall treatment time.

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