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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 76-83

Efficacy and tolerability of nimotuzumab in combination with chemotherapy in recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck at a cancer center in Northern India

Department of Medical Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Chaturbhuj R Agrawal
Department of Medical Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_469_18

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Introduction: Squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (SCCHN) account for approximately 30-33% of all cancer and the median survival for recurrent and metastatic(R/M) SCCHN remains less than 1 year despite modern advances in therapy. Chemotherapy, usually single agent remains the backbone of therapy in these patients. EGFR antibodies are being used in (R/M) SCCHN. Nimotuzumab is one such agent that has anti-EGFR action similar to other agents without similar skin toxicity. Methods: Prospective, interventional, non-randomized study done at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre. A total 124 patients were enrolled and divided into Arm A (Chemotherapy + Nimotuzumab) and Arm B (Chemotherapy) in a ratio of 1:1 i.e., 62 in each arm. They were evaluated and treated as per protocol after a written informed consent. Statistical analysis was done using the SPSS software. Quantitative variables were compared using Unpaired t-test/Mann-Whitney Test. Qualitative variables were compared using Chi-Square test /Fisher's exact test. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to assess the PFS, with log rank test for comparison between the groups. A p value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The most frequent primary location of tumor was oral cavity (n=38, 69%) and (n=33, 56.9%) in both arms. The overall response rate in Arm A was 38.2% and 19% in Arm B (p= 0.023). The disease control rate in Arm A was 74.5% and 43.1% Arm B (p= 0.0007). The median PFS in Arm A was 5.2 months whereas it was 3.2 months in Arm B (p= 0.009). Conclusion: In this study, the combination of Nimotuzumab plus platinum/taxane based chemotherapy was active and well tolerated in Indian patients in R/M SCCHN. Addition of Nimotuzumab to chemotherapy had a response rate of 38.2% and median PFS of 5.2 months are strong arguments for clinically testing this combination.


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