Long-term remission of locally recurrent oropharyngeal cancer after docetaxel-based chemotherapy plus cetuximab
van den Weyngaert, Danielle
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology. - Berlin, 1990, currens
, p. 1629-1636
University of Antwerp
Background In recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma ineligible for resection or irradiation, treatment aims primarily at symptom control and quality of life enhancement with an expected outcome of 612 months. Methods In 2005, a male patient, born in 1944, with a second local recurrence of human papillomavirus negative tonsil cancer was enrolled in the EXTREME trial, and randomized to platinum/5-fluorouracil/cetuximab arm resulting in partial remission with progression-free survival of 12 months. The second-line systemic therapy comprised 5 cycles of 3-weekly docetaxel/cisplatin/5-fluorouracil regimen plus weekly cetuximab. Results As confirmed on imaging and repeated biopsies, complete response was achieved with disease-free survival of 8 years and follow-up period of 12 years. Severe acute toxicities during the taxane-based chemotherapy plus cetuximab included grade 4 anorexia and grade 3 febrile neutropenia. Conclusions Poor tumor differentiation, no weight loss, oropharyngeal location, white race, and particularly the induced complete response were most likely the key favorable prognostic factors in the reported patient. The possibility of a synergistic interaction between taxanes and cetuximab should be further explored.