Korean J Head Neck Oncol Search


Korean Journal of Head & Neck Oncology 1990;6(1):11-23.
Published online June 30, 1990.
Chemotherapy for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Jae Kyung Roh
두경부 상피세포암의 화학요법
Systemic chemotherapy is usually regarded as the standard treatment for palliation in patients with recurrent or metastatic cancer who have failed the definite local treatment with surgery and/or radiotherapy. Recently, with the introduction of more active chemotherapeutic agents and combinations, systemic chemotherapy is being increasingly used before or after local therapy in patients with previously untreated locally advanced head and neck cancer. The most active agents for the head and neck caner are methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), cisplatin and bleomycin. The overall response rates to each of these four drugs are 15-30% expecially when used as first line therapy. But most of these responses are partial with a mean duration of 3-5 months. Various combinations with methotrexate, 5-FU, cisplatin, and bleomycin have been tried with overall response rates of 50-90%, and 10-20% of complete responses. The introduction of chemotherapy prior to local therapy, induction chemotherapy, has been investigated with improved survivals in patients with complete response, especially pathologic, though improvement in overall survival has not been proved yet after the induction chemotherapy. Other therapeutic modalities, such as 'Sandwich' chemotherapy between surgery and radiotherapy, concomittent chemo-radiotherapy and post local treatment adjuvant chemotherapy have been pursued with some hopeful results but these trials should be compared with prospective randomized Phase III trials. To increase the response rates and enhance the survival, important work still remains; 1. Identification of better prognostic factors, 2. Improvement in staging, 3. Development of more active and safter chemotherapeutic agents, 4. Identification of the proper sequence for the addition of chemotherapy to multimodality treatment, and 5. Testing the value of such chemotherapy in locally advanced cancer patients.


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