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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-29

Retrospective analysis of palliative metronomic chemotherapy in head and neck cancer

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Division of Clinical Research and Biostatistics, Malabar Cancer Centre, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. K Prabhash
Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_161_17

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BACKGROUND: Metronomic chemotherapy has shown promising results in selected patients of head and neck cancer in a small randomized study. This retrospective analysis was done to see whether the efficacy of metronomic chemotherapy in an unselected cohort of head and neck cancer patients is similar to that reported in the randomized study and the influence of the site and subsite of head and neck cancer on survival. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of head and neck cancer patients who received palliative metronomic chemotherapy between January 2013 and February 2015. The data of these patients were collected from our palliative chemotherapy database maintained in medical oncology outpatient department. The overall survival (OS) was calculated in days from the date of start of chemotherapy to the date of death. Patients who had not expired at last follow-up were censored during estimation of OS by Kaplan–Meier method. Factors affecting OS were identified by COX regression analysis. RESULTS: Over the stipulated time period, 340 patients received palliative metronomic chemotherapy. The median age of these patients was 48 years (22–90 years). The sites of tumor origin were oral cavity in 281 patients (82.6%), oropharynx in 33 patients (9.7%), larynx in seven patients (2.1%), hypopharynx in 12 patients (3.5%), and maxilla in seven patients (2.1%). Previous treatment was received by 286 patients (84.1%). The median time to failure was 3.5 months (interquartile range 2.0–6.0 months). The overall median survival was 155 days (95% confidence interval 140.2–169.8 days). Failure within 6 months of previous treatment was the most important factor influencing OS. There was a trend toward lower OS in patients with oral cancers (139 days vs. 210 days). Among the various oral cancer subsites, oral tongue primary had a lower OS. CONCLUSION: Oral metronomic chemotherapy has promising results when used in a selected cohort of patients but has dismal results in patients who failed within 6 months of previous treatment.


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