December 1989

Prognostic Indicators in Head and Neck Cancer Patients Receiving Combined Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (Drs R. K. Davis, Stoker, K. Davis, Stevens, Parkin, and Johnson), Section of Radiotion Therapy (Dr Gibbs), University of Utah School of Medicine; Hematology/Oncology, Veterans Administration Hospital (Dr Harker); and Diagnostic Radiology (Dr Harnsberger), Salt Lake City, Utah.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(12):1443-1446. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860360045015

• In 1983 we initiated a prospective nonrandomized study of the value of preoperative chemotherapy in previously untreated patients with stages III and IV squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. In 1983 and 1984, 50 patients were entered in the study. Prior to therapy all patients were evaluated by a representative from the Medical Oncology, Radiation Therapy, and Head and Neck Surgery Divisions, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City. In addition to the standard preoperative evaluation, pretreatment computed tomographic scans were performed on all patients. Follow-up computed tomographic scans were performed after the second cycle of chemotherapy and at the completion of treatment. Initial therapy in all patients consisted of induction chemotherapy with cisplatin (day 1, 100 mg/m2) and fluorouracil (days 1 through 5, 1000 mg/m2). Several factors were examined for their utility in predicting response to therapy and survival. Factors evaluated included: (1) extent and timing of chemotherapeutic response; (2) computed tomographic quantitated primary tumor size; (3) size of computed tomographic quantitated regional (neck) metastases; (4) performance status; (5) cancer stage; (6) total lymphocyte count; and (7) serum liver function tests. The factor found to be most useful in predicting improved survival was the extent of response to chemotherapy. The remaining factors, performance status, regional lymph node status, serum γ-glutamyltransferase levels, and cancer stage, were also found to correlate with length of survival but were much less important than the response to chemotherapy.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115:1443-1446)