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Cancer drug therapy hailed success


1 June, 2009  

A new therapy regime for a particular type of head and neck cancer has been proven in a clinical trial to perform better than a standard chemotherapy treatment alone.

The randomised phase III study was aimed at comparing the time-to-treatment failure (TTF) for two groups of patients with unresectable locally advanced head and neck cancer (LAHNC) – one given induction chemotherapy (IC) prior to standard chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and the other given CRT alone.

The TTF endpoint was defined as a composite of time-to-disease progression, time-to-surgery or other cancer-related treatments, time-to-drop-out due to an adverse event, and time-to-death from any cause.

The research, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), showed that the IC treatment – which consisted of cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil with or without Taxotere (docetaxel) injection concentrate – given ahead of CRT significantly prolonged TTF in LAHNC patients.

Professor Fadlo Khuri and Roberto Goizueta, chair of hematology and medical oncology at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, wrote: “This trial showed that adding Induction Chemotherapy to ChemoRadiotherapy increased failure-free survival while significantly increasing local control in patients with advanced unresectable head and neck cancer.”

Experts hope that the data could help define and clarify standard approaches to the treatment of patients with the disease.

Copyright Press Association 2009

American Society of Clinical Oncology