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Cancer Treat Rep. 1979 Sep-Oct;63(9-10):1533-8.

cis-Dichlorodiammineplatinum(II)-based chemotherapy as initial treatment of advanced head and neck cancer.


During the past 2--3 years, a total of 73 patients with advanced head and neck cancer (mostly stage IV) were treated with cis-dichlorodiammineplatinum(II) (cis-platinum) as initial therapy, either alone or in combination with other agents. After chemotherapy, the patients received surgery and/or radiation therapy in standard fashion. Major degrees of tumor regression were seen in 40%--71% of the patients. cis-Platinum and bleomycin given by infusion gave the highest response rate (71%). The addition of high-dose methotrexate to cis-platinum plus bleomycin produced an unacceptable level of toxicity. Similarly, a four-drug regimen in which low-dose methotrexate and vinblastine were added to cis-platinum and bleomycin resulted in increased toxicity without additional therapeutic effect. Initial chemotherapy does not compromise subsequent surgery or increase either the immediate complications of surgery or the acute toxicity of radiation therapy. It seems unlikely that initial chemotherapy has altered the grim prognosis of an advanced, inoperable presentation. The effect of initial chemotherapy on advanced, operable disease will have to be assessed by suitable controlled trials.

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