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Patterns of failure in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer treated postoperatively with irradiation or concomitant irradiation with Mitomycin C and Bleomycin.

Author(s): Zakotnik B, Budihna M, Smid L, Soba E, Strojan P, Fajdiga I, Zargi M, Oblak I, Lesnicar H

Affiliation(s): Institute of Oncology, Ljubljana, Slovenia. bzakotnik@onko-i.si

Publication date & source: 2007-03-01, Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys., 67(3):685-90. Epub 2006 Dec 29.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

PURPOSE: The long term results and patterns of failure in patients with squamous cell head and neck carcinoma (SCHNC) treated in a prospective randomized trial in which concomitant postoperative radiochemotherapy with Mitomycin C and Bleomycin (CRT) was compared with radiotherapy only (RT), were analyzed. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between March 1997 and December 2001, 114 eligible patients with Stage III or IV SCHNC were randomized. Primary surgical treatment was performed with curative intent in all patients. Patients in both groups were postoperatively irradiated to the total dose of 56-70 Gy. Chemotherapy included Mitomycin C 15 mg/m2 after 10 Gy and 5 mg of Bleomycin twice weekly during irradiation. Median follow-up was 76 months (48-103 months). RESULTS: At 5 years in the RT and CRT arms, the locoregional control was 65% and 88% (p = 0.026), disease-free survival 33% and 53% (p = 0.035), and overall survival 37% and 55% (p = 0.091) respectively. Patients who benefited from chemotherapy were those with high-risk factors. The probability of distant metastases was 22% in RT and 20% in CRT arm (p = 0.913), of grade III or higher late toxicity 19% in RT and 26% in CRT arm (p = 0.52) and of thyroid dysfunction 36% in RT and 56% in CRT arm (p = 0.24). The probability to develop a second primary malignancy (SPM) was 34% in the RT and 8% in the CRT arm (p = 0.023). One third of deaths were due to infection, but there was no difference between the 2 groups. CONCLUSION: With concomitant radiochemotherapy, locoregional control and disease free survival were significantly improved. Second primary malignancies in the CRT arm compared to RT arm were significantly less frequent. The high probability of post treatment hypothyroidism in both arms warrants regular laboratory evaluation.

Page last updated: 2007-05-03

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