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Exp Ther Med. 2012 May;3(5):869-872. Epub 2012 Mar 5.

Use of cetuximab in combination with pulsed reduced dose-rate radiotherapy in a patient with recurrence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in the neck.

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Institute for Cancer Research in People's Liberation Army, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400037, P.R. China.


Reirradiation is a major therapeutic modality for patients with locally recurrent head and neck carcinoma. Due to normal tissue tolerances, reirradiation using conventional techniques has a narrow therapeutic ratio in the regional recurrence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Pulsed reduced dose-rate radiotherapy (PRDR), which delivers a series of 0.2 Gy pulses separated by 3 min intervals, is a new reirradiation technique. Head and neck carcinoma cells have high levels of epidermal growth factor receptor expression and cetuximab shows a clear benefit to locally advanced head and neck carcinoma. We report a 56-year-old male with a recurrent lesion of NPC in the neck following initial radical radiochemotherapy. The patient was retreated with PRDR and concurrent cetuximab. The total dose of PRDR was 70 Gy, using 35 daily fractions of 2.0 Gy. The recurrent lesion of this patient had a complete response with no apparent radiation-induced normal tissue complications. This is the first study concerning PRDR combined with cetuximab for the treatment of recurrent head and neck carcinoma following radiotherapy. The outcome of this patient reveals that treatment with PRDR and concurrent cetuximab is a promising therapeutic option for patients with recurrent head and neck carcinoma following radiotherapy.

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