Original ArticleSynchronous Chemoradiotherapy in Patients with Locally Advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck using Capecitabine: a Single-centre, Open-label, Single-group Phase II Study
Review articleOpen access

AbstractAimTo evaluate the efficacy of concurrent oral capecitabine with accelerated hypofractionated radical radiotherapy in locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).Materials and methodsBetween 2001 and 2004, 50 patients with stage III/IV SCCHN (0 to 2 performance status) were enrolled into this study. The capecitabine dose was between 450 and 550 mg/m2 twice daily, continuously for 28 days. The radiotherapy dose was 5500 cGy in 20 fractions over 4 weeks. No intensity-modulated radiation was used. We evaluated the complete response rate, toxicity, locoregional control, overall survival, disease-free survival and cancer-specific survival.ResultsThe median age was 55 (range 38–76) years; 72% had stage IV disease. The median follow-up was 6 years on the 30 surviving patients. Eighty-two per cent of patients completed the course of capecitabine and 94% completed prescribed radiotherapy. There were no treatment-related deaths, grade 3/4 haematological or renal toxicity. Five patients developed drug-related grade 3/4 acute toxicity (cardiac, skin, bowel); 47 developed grade 3/4 mucositis from chemoradiotherapy. Twenty-two (44%) patients required tube feeding and the tube dependency rate at 1 year was 6%. The complete response rate at 3 months was 90% (45/50 patients). Relapse occurred in 17/50 (34%) patients by 5 years. The locoregional control, overall survival, cancer-specific survival and disease-free survival rates at 3 years were 78, 72, 82 and 62%, respectively, and at 5 years were 72, 64, 75 and 56%, respectively.ConclusionThis schedule of synchronous capecitabine for locally advanced SCCHN is well tolerated. The local control in this series compares favourably with other synchronous chemoradiotherapy reports. Chronic dysphagia and tube dependence is uncommon with this approach. Capecitabine as targeted therapy given with each fraction of radiotherapy and administered orally may have significant advantages over intravenous, 3 weekly cisplatin.

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