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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2003 Dec;4(12):2151-63.

Systemic chemotherapy for squamous cell head and neck cancer.

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Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Desk R-35, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


Squamous cell head and neck cancer is a relatively uncommon malignancy in North America. Nonetheless, it has been of considerable interest to medical oncologists because of its remarkable sensitivity to systemic chemotherapy. Even in patients with relapsed or metastatic disease, meaningful tumour shrinkage can be achieved with systemic therapy. This has led to the performance of carefully conducted clinical trials exploring the role of systemic chemotherapy, not only in the palliative setting, but as part of definitive multi-modality treatment. Chemotherapy has been used as the initial (or induction) treatment, as an adjuvant treatment after definitive surgery and/or radiation, and concurrent with both definitive and adjuvant radiation therapy. Evidence-based conclusions have been drawn from these clinical trials and have led to significant changes in the current standards of care for this disease. In this article, the available data supporting the use of systemic chemotherapy as palliative treatment, and as part of the definitive management for this disease will be reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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