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Ann Oncol. 1993 Nov;4(9):785-8.

Epirubicin in patients with advanced or recurrent adenoid cystic carcinoma of the head and neck: a phase II study of the EORTC Head and Neck Cancer Cooperative Group.

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Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Because of the rarity of salivary gland cancer, little is known about the single-agent activity of most anticancer agents in the different histologic types of these cancers.


Twenty patients with advanced or recurrent adenoid cystic carcinoma of the head and neck were treated with epirubicin on a low-dose weekly schedule (30 mg/m2/week) for eight weeks and, in instances of no response, a high-dose three-weekly schedule (> or = 90 mg/m2). Thirteen patients had locoregional disease (12 recurrences), seven of them also had distant metastases and seven had distant metastases only. All had documented progressive disease, and 17 were symptomatic.


Two objective responses of 7.5 and 20 months were observed in patients with locally recurrent disease, and ten patients showed disease stabilization. The median time to progression was 16 weeks (range 2-250 weeks) and the median survival 67 weeks (range 13-272+ weeks), with three patients still alive more than five years after the initiation of chemotherapy. Contrary to the rather modest objective response rate, symptomatic improvement occurred more frequently (29.4%) and was evident within 8 weeks of treatment.


This type of chemotherapy should be reserved for patients with rapidly progressive disease or those with symptomatic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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