Pilot study of organ preservation multimodality therapy for locally advanced resectable oropharyngeal carcinoma

Mitchell Machtay, David I. Rosenthal, Kenneth M. Algazy, Victor M. Aviles, Ara A. Chalian, Diane Hershock, Robin Neubauer, Michael J. Greenberg, Natasha Mirza, Gregory S. Weinstein, Randal S. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the early efficacy and toxicity of a new multimodality organ-preservation regimen for locally advanced, resectable oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Patients with T3-4N0-3M0 or T2N2-3M0 oropharyngeal SCC were eligible for this Phase II study. Patients needed the physiologic reserve for surgery and technically resectable tumors. Induction carboplatin (area under the curve = 6) and paclitaxel (200 mg/m2) × 2 cycles (q21 days) were given. Objective responders received definitive radiotherapy (XRT), 70 Gy/7 weeks with concurrent weekly paclitaxel. Initially, the dose of paclitaxel was 50 mg/m2/week; because of mucosal toxicity it was reduced to 30 mg/m2/week. Patients with N2-3 disease received post-XRT neck dissection and 2 more cycles of "adjuvant" chemotherapy. In the first 22 patients, the neutropenic fever rate was 27%. Although there has been no grade IV-V toxicity from induction therapy, grade II-III toxicity resulted in an unacceptable delay in starting XRT in 14% of patients. The response rate to induction chemotherapy was 91%. Grade III mucositis occurred in all patients during concurrent chemoradiotherapy. One patient died of pneumonia during concurrent chemoradiotherapy after receiving 26 Gy and 3 doses of paclitaxel 50 mg/m2. No dose-limiting toxicity occurred in 15 patients treated with concurrent paclitaxel 30 mg/m2/week. Actuarial overall survival at 18 months is 82%; local-regional control is 86%. To date, distant metastases have not developed in any patients. This regimen has intense but acceptable acute toxicity. The maximum tolerated dosage of weekly paclitaxel during standard continuous-course XRT is confirmed to be 30 mg/m2/week. The treatment efficacy of this regimen (response rate and short-term local-regional and distant control) is encouraging. Accrual continues to obtain long-term toxicity, efficacy, and quality-of-life data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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