Medline: 2433016

Cancer 59(2): 233-238, 1987.

Achievement of superior survival for histologically negative versus histologically positive clinically complete responders to cisplatin combination in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer.

Al-Kourainy K, Kish J, Ensley J, et al.


In a series of three consecutive pilot studies conducted between 1977 and 1982 at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 191 consecutive patients with previously untreated, locally advanced head and neck cancer were treated with cisplatin (CDDP), vincristine, and bleomycin or CDDP and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) infusion before definite surgery or radiation. A 39% (75/191) rate of complete clinical responses was achieved. Thirty-two of the chemotherapy-induced complete responders underwent radical surgery. Thirteen had no histologic evidence of residual disease in the surgically resected specimen. The CDDP and 5-FU infusion combination achieved the highest histologic complete response rate. All histologically complete responders who had completed local radiation therapy are clinically free of disease at median follow-up of 36 months. Patients who achieved complete response both clinically and histologically had superior survival as compared to patients who achieved complete response clinically and were subsequently found to have residual tumor in their surgically resected specimen (P = 0.01). An analysis of the clinical and pathological pretreatment characteristics was performed to identify factors predictive of histologic complete response. Advanced nodal disease correlated inversely with the achievement of negative histology in the surgically resected specimen (P = 0.02). No other factors were significant in predicting response.

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