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Indian J Cancer. 2009 Jan-Mar;46(1):50-3.

A comparative study of low dose weekly paclitaxel versus cisplatin with concurrent radiation in the treatment of locally advanced head and neck cancers.

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  • 1Department of Radiotherapy, Jadao Ba Cancer Hospital, N.S.C.B. Medical College, Jabalpur - 482 003, Madhya Pradesh, India.



The purpose of this study was to compare low dose weekly paclitaxel versus cisplatin with concurrent radiation in locally advanced head and neck cancers.


From August 2005 to July 2006, a total of 100 biopsy proven, locally advanced head and neck cancers were enrolled for the study. All the patients were stratified in two groups, study group A and control group B. Study group patients received injection Paclitaxel 20 mg/m 2 , I/V 1 hr infusion weekly for 6 weeks and control group patients received injection Cisplatin 30 mg/m 2 , I/V 2 hrs infusion weekly for 6 weeks. All patients received 66-70 Gy concurrent radiation at the rate of 2 Gy/day, 5 #/week, in 6-7 weeks by cobalt theratron phoenix - 80 teletherapy units.


Complete response achieved in 73% of patients in study group and 64% of patients in control group. There was no statistically significant difference observed between the study group and the control group (chi2 = 1.167, df = 1, level of significance 0.05). On 3-10 months of follow-up 59% of patients in the study group and 42% of patients in the control group are alive and disease free. Local toxicities including mucositis, dysphasia and skin reactions were more in the study group but tolerable.


Efficacy of paclitaxel in low dose weekly schedule is comparable to cisplatin in locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Further analysis and follow-up are needed to evaluate if this benefit will translate into prolonged survival.

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