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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Dec 1;69(5):1361-8. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

Efficacy and safety of subcutaneous amifostine in minimizing radiation-induced toxicities in patients receiving combined-modality treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

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  • 1Department of Hematology/Oncology, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA 17822, USA. alaw1@geisinger.edu



To report long-term data from a prospective trial of subcutaneous (s.c.) amifostine in patients who received chemoradiotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).


Patients >or=18 years of age with previously untreated Stage III/IV SCCHN received fractionated radiotherapy, 1.8-2.0 Gy/day, 5 days per week, to a total dose of 70-72 Gy, plus weekly paclitaxel (40 mg/m2) and carboplatin (100 mg/m2) administered intravenously (i.v.) for 6 weeks. All patients received 500 mg s.c. amifostine 30-60 min before radiotherapy with antihistamine and antiemetic prophylaxis.


Twenty patients were evaluable (median age, 55 years). The incidence of Grade 2 xerostomia was 42% and 29% at 12 and 18 months, respectively; there were no reports of Grade >or=3 xerostomia. Grade >or=3 mucositis occurred in 30% of patients, with median time to resolution of 12.5 weeks (range, 5-17 weeks). Survival estimates at 1 and 2 years were 95% and 71%, respectively. All patients experienced Grade 2 weight loss; 7 patients (35%) experienced Grade <or=2 nausea/vomiting. There were no reports of Grade >/=3 amifostine-related adverse events.


Subcutaneous amifostine was well tolerated by patients receiving chemoradiotherapy for SCCHN, with lower rates of nausea/vomiting than reported in trials with i.v. amifostine. Xerostomia and mucositis rates were similar to those reported in trials with i.v. amifostine.

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