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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991 Mar;117(3):288-91.

5-year results of cisplatin and fluorouracil infusion in head and neck cancer.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich.


As part of the developmental process for the Head and Neck Intergroup trial of adjuvant chemotherapy for advanced resectable head and neck carcinoma, in 1981 the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Philadelphia, Pa, conducted two nonrandomized pilot studies using chemotherapy consisting of three courses of cisplatin and fluorouracil infusion. Chemotherapy was administered prior to surgery in 42 patients (induction) and after surgery in an additional 29 patients (sequential). The populations were roughly comparable with respect to tumor site and stage. Twelve of the 42 patients in the induction group and seven of the 29 in the sequential group are alive and with no evidence of disease at the last reported follow-up. The median survival was 31 months in the sequential group vs 20 months in the induction group. Only two of the 26 patients with less than a complete clinical response following induction chemotherapy are still alive. Twenty-seven of the 42 patients who received induction chemotherapy did not undergo surgery as initially planned. Despite the lack of surgery, at 5 years the survival between the two groups was not significantly different (27% for the induction group vs 23% for the sequential group).

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