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Cisplatin-Based Chemotherapy versus Cetuximab in Concurrent Chemoradiotherapy for Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Treatment


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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