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August 1996

A Novel Organ Preservation Protocol for Advanced Carcinoma of the Larynx and Pharynx

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122(8):853-857. doi:10.1001/archotol.1996.01890200043010

Objective:  To pilot a targeted chemoradiation protocol for patients with advanced carcinoma of the larynx and pharynx that would circumvent upper aerodigestive tract dysfunction related to major oncologic surgery.

Design:  Weekly intra-arterial infusions of supradose cisplatin (150 mg/m2 per week ×4) rapidly delivered to the tumor bulk, simultaneous intravenous sodium thiosulfate for systemic drug neutralization, and conventional external-beam irradiation (1.80-2.00 Gy per fraction ×35) were used. Between February 1991 and April 1994, 42 patients were treated who would otherwise have required a major resection of the tongue base, pharyngeal wall, or larynx.

Main Outcome Measures:  Tumor response, toxic effects, disease control above the clavicle, preservation of the larynx, maintenance of oral nutrition, and overall and disease-related 2-year survival.

Results:  Three complications were related to the weekly transfemoral superselective intra-arterial procedures performed 160 times. Grade 3 to 4 chemotoxic effects were infrequent, occurring in 9 (5.5%) of 160 cycles, and only 1 patient required a radiotherapy break because of severe mucositis. A complete response in the primary site was obtained in 36 (86%) of 42 patients, 2 of whom had residual disease in the neck. Median follow-up was 13 months (range, 3-46 months). To date, there have been 5 recurrences: 2 regional and 3 distant. The 2-year overall and disease-related survival was 64% and 76%, respectively. The rate of disease control above the clavicle at 2 years was 86%.

Conclusions:  We believe this chemoradiation protocol represents an effective management scheme for patients with advanced head and neck cancer while minimizing dysfunction and possibly improving survival.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122:853-857