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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Feb 1;67(2):445-52. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

A Phase II trial of subcutaneous amifostine and radiation therapy in patients with head-and-neck cancer.

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Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Bodine Center for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.



Intravenous amifostine 200 mg/m2 reduces xerostomia in head-and-neck cancer patients. This Phase II study evaluated subcutaneous (s.c.) amifostine in a similar patient population.


Patients received amifostine 500 mg, administered as two 250-mg s.c. injections 60 min before once-daily radiation for head-and-neck cancer (50-70 Gy in 5-7 weeks). The primary endpoint was the incidence of > or =Grade 2 acute xerostomia.


Fifty-four patients received s.c. amifostine and radiotherapy. The incidence of > or =Grade 2 acute xerostomia was 56% (95% CI, 43-69%) and the incidence of > or =Grade 2 late xerostomia at 1 year was 45% (95% CI, 29-61%). The incidence of acute xerostomia was lower than reported previously with no amifostine in a controlled study; rates of acute xerostomia were similar between s.c. and i.v. amifostine in the two studies. The rate of late xerostomia with s.c. amifostine was intermediate between rates for i.v. amifostine and no amifostine, and not statistically significantly different from either historical control. Grades 1-2 nausea and emesis were the most common amifostine-related adverse events. Grade 3 amifostine-related adverse events reported by >1 patient included: dehydration (11%); rash (6%); and weight decrease, mucositis, dyspnea, and allergic reaction (each 4%). Seven patients (13%) had serious cutaneous adverse events outside the injection site. One-year rates of locoregional control, progression-free survival, and overall survival were 78%, 75%, and 85%, respectively.


Subcutaneous amifostine provides a well-tolerated yet simpler alternative to i.v. amifostine for reducing acute xerostomia in head-and-neck cancer patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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