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J Clin Oncol. 2001 Jun 15;19(12):3010-7.

Combined interferon-alfa, 13-cis-retinoic acid, and alpha-tocopherol in locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: novel bioadjuvant phase II trial.

Author information

1
Departments of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, Diagnostic Imaging, Head and Neck Surgery, Biostatistics, Radiation Oncology, and Clinical Cancer Prevention, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA. shindm@msx.upmc.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Retinoids and interferons (IFNs) have single-agent and synergistic combined effects in modulating cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in vitro and clinical activity in vivo in the head and neck and other sites. Alpha-tocopherol has chemopreventive activity in the head and neck and may decrease 13-cis-retinoic acid (13-cRA) toxicity. We designed the present phase II adjuvant trial to prevent recurrence or second primary tumors (SPTs) using 13-cRA, IFN-alpha, and alpha-tocopherol in locally advanced-stage head and neck cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

After definitive local treatment with surgery, radiotherapy, or both, patients with locally advanced SCCHN were treated with 13-cRA (50 mg/m(2)/d, orally, daily), IFN-alpha (3 x 10(6) IU/m(2), subcutaneous injection, three times a week), and alpha-tocopherol (1,200 IU/d, orally, daily) for 12 months, with a dose modification. Screening for recurrence or SPTs was performed every 3 months.

RESULTS:

Tumors of 11 (24%) of the 45 treated patients were stage III, and 34 (76%) were stage IV. Thirty-eight (86%) of 44 patients completed the full 12-month treatment (doses modified as needed). Toxicity generally was consistent with previous IFN and 13-cRA reports and included mild to moderate mucocutaneous and flu-like symptoms; occasional significant fatigue (grade 3 in 7% of patients), mild to moderate hypertriglyceridemia in 30% of patients who continued treatment along with antilipid therapy, and mild hematologic side effects. Six patients did not complete the planned treatment because of intolerable toxicity or social problems. At a median 24-months of follow-up, our clinical end point rates were 9% for local/regional recurrence (four patients), 5% for local/regional recurrence and distant metastases (two patients), and 2% for SPT (one patient), which was acute promyelocytic leukemia (ie, not of the upper aerodigestive tract). Median 1- and 2-year rates of overall survival were 98% and 91%, respectively, and of disease-free survival were 91% and 84%, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

The novel biologic agent combination of IFN-alpha, 13-cRA, and alpha-tocopherol was generally well tolerated and promising as adjuvant therapy for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. We are currently conducting a phase III randomized study of this combination (v no treatment) to confirm these phase II study results.

PMID:
11408495
DOI:
10.1200/JCO.2001.19.12.3010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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