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Cisplatin-based chemotherapy versus cetuximab in concurrent chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced head and neck cancer treatment.

  • Author(s): Hu, Ming-Hung
  • Wang, Ling-Wei
  • Lu, Hsueh-Ju
  • Chu, Pen-Yuan
  • Tai, Shyh-Kuan
  • Lee, Tsung-Lun
  • Chen, Ming-Huang
  • Yang, Muh-Hwa
  • Chang, Peter Mu-Hsin
  • et al.

Background and purpose

This study aimed to analyze survival, clinical responses, compliance, and adverse effects in locally advanced head and neck cancer (LAHNC) patients treated with split-dose cisplatin-based concurrent chemoradiation therapy (SD-CCRT) or cetuximab with concurrent radiation therapy (BioRT).

Materials and methods

We retrospectively evaluated 170 LAHNC patients diagnosed between January 1, 2009, and July 31, 2012: 116 received CCRT and 54 received BioRT.


Complete response rates were similar in the SD-CCRT and BioRT groups (63.8% versus 59.3%; P = 0.807), and locoregional relapse rates were 18.1% and 13.0%, respectively (P = 0.400). The 3-year relapse-free survival rate was 65.8% in the SD-CCRT group and 65.5% in the BioRT group, respectively (P = 0.647). The 3-year overall survival rate was 78.5% in the SD-CCRT group and 70.9% in the BioRT group, respectively (P = 0.879). Hematologic side effects were significantly more frequent in the SD-CCRT than in the BioRT group. Mucositis frequency was similar.


Primary SD-CCRT and BioRT both showed good clinical response and survival. Hematologic toxicities were more frequent, but tolerable, in the SD-CCRT group. Both groups showed good compliance.

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