Researchers analyzed two subgroups totaling 410 patients who had advanced head and neck cancer and received radiation therapy or radiation therapy plus cisplatin. Those who had microscopically involved resection margins and/or extracapsular spread of disease showed improved local-regional control with radiation and chemotherapy. At 10 years post-treatment, the local-regional failure rates were 33.1 percent and 27.1 percent, respectively. Disease free survival for radiation therapy only patients was 12.3 percent compared to 18.4 percent for those treated with radiation plus cisplatin and overall survival was 19.6 percent and 27.1 percent, respectively.
In contrast, patients who were enrolled in the study solely because they had tumors involving multiple lymph nodes did not benefit from receiving radiation therapy and chemotherapy concurrently.
“This is good news,” Jay Cooper, MD, FASTRO, lead author of the study and director of the Maimonides Cancer Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., said. “We now can eradicate some advanced head and neck tumors that we couldn’t before by adding chemotherapy to radiation therapy. At the same time, we can spare other patients who would not do better with the addition of chemotherapy from its side effects.”
The abstract, “Long-term follow-up of the RTOG 9501/Intergroup Phase III trial: Postoperative concurrent radiation therapy and chemotherapy in high-risk squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck,” will be presented on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 12:30 p.m. Mountain time. To speak with one of the study authors, contact Beth Bukata or Nicole Napoli on January 26-27, 2012, in the press room at the Arizona Biltmore at 602-912-7854 or 703-839-7336.
About the American Head and Neck Society
The American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) is the single largest organization in North America for the advancement of research and education in head and neck oncology. The purpose of the AHNS is to promote and advance the knowledge of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of neoplasms and other diseases of the head and neck; to promote and advance research in diseases of the head and neck; and to promote and advance the highest professional and ethical standards.
About the American Society of Clinical Oncology
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 30,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds ground-breaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer. For ASCO information and resources, visit www.asco.org. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at www.cancer.net.
About the American Society for Radiation Oncology
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy. For more information on radiation therapy, visit www.rtanswers.org. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.
About SNM—Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy
SNM is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about what molecular imaging is and how it can help provide patients with the best health care possible. SNM members specialize in molecular imaging, a vital element of today’s medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated.