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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2012 Jul;70(1):121-8. doi: 10.1007/s00280-012-1894-y. Epub 2012 May 27.

A phase I study of temsirolimus plus carboplatin plus paclitaxel for patients with recurrent or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC).

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, Box 532, New York, NY 10021, USA.



The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is aberrantly activated in many head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). This phase I study combines the mTORC1 inhibitor temsirolimus with carboplatin and paclitaxel.


This was a single institution phase I study for patients with R/M HNSCC with a standard 3 + 3 design. Three doses of temsirolimus were planned: 15, 20, and 25 mg. Due to excessive toxicity with the original study regimen, the protocol was amended to carboplatin AUC 1.5, paclitaxel 80 mg/m(2), and temsirolimus (according to dose escalation plan), all on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle.


18 patients (14 male, 4 female) enrolled, with median age 56 years (range 33-78). The most common toxicities were anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and hyperglycemia. Among all patients treated, the confirmed objective partial response (cPR) rate was 22 %. DLT was not exceeded among 6 patients treated at dose level 3 of the revised protocol, and 4 of 6 subjects treated at this dose level had cPRs.


The phase II recommended regimen is temsirolimus 25 mg, carboplatin AUC 1.5, and paclitaxel 80 mg/m(2), all on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. A phase II study of this regimen in R/M HNSCC is ongoing.

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