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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2013 Nov;25(11):647-53. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2013.07.007. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

The efficacy of induction chemotherapy with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil combined with cisplatin concurrent chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: a matched pair analysis.

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Department of Clinical Oncology, St. James's Institute of Oncology, Leeds, UK.



The role of induction chemotherapy (ICT) for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is controversial. The aim of the study was to assess the benefit of ICT with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (TPF) when combined with concurrent cisplatin chemoradiotherapy (CRT) for HNSCC.


Patients with HNSCC treated between January 2005 and December 2010 with radical intent with either TPF or cisplatin and 5-FU (PF) ICT and documented intention to proceed with concurrent cisplatin CRT were identified retrospectively. The use and choice of ICT regimen was at the clinician's discretion. In total, 68 patients treated with TPF were identified and were matched for T and N stage and tumour site to 68 patients treated with PF. A survival analysis was carried out using Kaplan-Meier and the Cox proportional hazards model.


The median follow-up was 29.9 versus 36.3 months for the TPF and PF groups, respectively. Three year locoregional relapse-free survival (RFS), distant RFS, RFS, cancer-specific survival and overall survival rates for the TPF and PF groups were 84.2, 91.6, 82.6, 81.3 and 74.9% versus 73.7, 84.9, 71.9, 72.1 and 62.9%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, treatment with TPF predicted for improved locoregional RFS (P = 0.03) and overall survival (P = 0.05).


The addition of docetaxel to a cisplatin doublet ICT regimen before concurrent CRT may improve disease control for locally advanced HNSCC.


Cisplatin; concurrent chemoradiotherapy; docetaxel; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; induction chemotherapy

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