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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-8

Biweekly cetuximab in combination with platinum and 5-fluorouracil in metastatic head and neck carcinoma

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Medical Park Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
2 Department of Medical Oncology, Giresun University Training and Research Hospital, Giresun, Turkey
3 Bahcesehir University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology, Istanbul, Turkey
4 Department of Medical Oncology, Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey
5 Department of Medical Oncology, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
Zeki G Surmeli
Department of Medical Oncology, Medical Park Hospital, Ankara
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_355_18

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Background and Aim: The combination of cetuximab with platinum and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) chemotherapy prolongs survival in patients with metastatic or recurrent squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Biweekly (once in 2 weeks) administration of cetuximab requires fewer hospital visits and decreases treatment costs; therefore, it is more convenient both for the patients and for the healthcare providers. Here, we assessed the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of an alternative biweekly regimen of cetuximab in combination with platinum and 5-FU chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for these patients. Methods and Materials: Medical records of patients with metastatic or recurrent non-nasopharyngeal SCCHN who were treated with a biweekly regimen of cetuximab (500 mg/m2 on day 1), cisplatin (40 mg/m2 on day 1) or carboplatin (target area under the curve 3.5 mg/ml × min on day 1), folinic acid (400 mg/m2 on day 1), and 5-FU (400 mg/m2 bolus on day 1 followed by continuous infusion of 2,400 mg/m2 5-FU over 46 h) were retrospectively reviewed. Survival estimates were calculated with the Kaplan–Meier method. Results: In total, 60 patients were included. The median age of the patients was 60.5. The objective response rate was 53.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 40.7–65.9). The median progression-free survival duration was 6.8 months (95% CI = 5.5–8.1) and the median overall survival duration was 13.3 months (95% CI = 8.4–18.2). The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events were neutropenia (28.3%) and leucopenia (13.3%). Grade 3 or 4 rash was observed in 3.3% of the patients. Conclusion: Biweekly administration of cetuximab, cisplatin, and 5-FU is an effective regimen with a favorable toxicity profile for the first-line treatment of metastatic or recurrent SCCHN. These results warrant further evaluation of this regimen in prospective trials.


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