Medline: 1450045

Annals of Oncology 3(8): 631-634, 1992.

Subsets of tumors responsive to cisplatin or carboplatin combinations in patients with carcinoma of unknown primary site: a Hellenic Cooperative Oncology Group study.

Pavlidis N, Kosmidis P, Skarlos D, et al.


In this retrospective analysis 48 patients with metastatic undifferentiated carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and epidermoid carcinoma of unknown origin were studied. The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate both the response rate and the toxicity of combination chemotherapy containing cisplatin or carboplatin, and to attempt to identify certain clinical subsets of patients sensitive to these drugs. Four patients were not evaluable and 13 (29.5%), eight of the 34 treated with regimens containing cisplatin and 5/14 with carboplatin-based chemotherapy, responded to treatment. Six of the 23 with undifferentiated tumours, 4/17 with adenocarcinomas and 3/8 with epidermoid cancers responded to chemotherapy. Four of 6 women with adenocarcinoma of the peritoneal cavity, 5/11 with undifferentiated carcinomas with midline distribution and 3/5 with epidermoid carcinomas of the cervical nodes responded. Seven patients achieved complete and six partial remissions. The mean duration of response was nine months; a number of patients enjoyed prolonged and/or durable remissions. Toxicity was tolerable. We conclude that: (a) both cisplatin and carboplatin are active agents in this syndrome with one-third of the evaluable patients responding, and (b) there may be chemosensitive subgroups, such as patients with peritoneal adenocarcinomatosis, undifferentiated carcinoma with midline distribution and metastatic epidermoid carcinoma of the neck nodes. The effectiveness of carboplatin in these patients and the responsiveness of metastatic epidermoid carcinoma of unknown origin have not been adequately dealt with in the literature.

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