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J Clin Oncol. 1985 May;3(5):672-9.

A randomized trial of adjuvant chemotherapy in head and neck cancer.


Ninety-five patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck were entered into a randomized study testing a two-week course of induction chemotherapy with methotrexate and leucovorin given prior to regional therapy. In addition, following regional therapy, patients randomized to chemotherapy were to receive similar methotrexate courses every three months for one year. Poor tolerance to this regimen after radiation and surgery led to a change in the chemotherapy following regional therapy to a combination of Adriamycin (Adria Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio) and cisplatin every three weeks for four cycles after the first 35 patients had been entered. Nine cases were ineligible and four lacked any follow-up data, leaving 82 analyzable cases. Using Cox regression analysis, no differences in the percentage of patients achieving disease control, the relapse-free survival, or the overall survival were identified between any treatment group. As has been described in many pilot studies of induction chemotherapy of head and neck cancer, chemotherapy responders had a more favorable disease-free survival than chemotherapy nonresponders in the total group of patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. However, correcting for imbalances in the expected three year disease-free survival of these patients, based on their disease site and stage, erased this difference, indicating tumor response to this regimen of chemotherapy is not an independent factor affecting disease outcome. The division of patients into arbitrary prognostic categories based on the expected outcome for each specific tumor site and stage proved to be a useful method for balancing treatment groups, given the multiple site-stage combinations within the upper aerodigestive tract. The defined prognostic categories were the single most sensitive predictors of relapse-free and overall survival.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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