Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Comparing combination therapies for advanced head and neck cancer shows no improvement

Date:
March 7, 2013
Source:
University of North Carolina Health Care
Summary:
A team of scientists reports results of a clinical trial comparing combination treatments for head and neck cancer.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck staining for p16, a tumor suppressor protein. Staining positive for p16 was associated with longer progression free survival in all patients but was not associated with response to treatment.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of North Carolina Health Care

Locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is a potentially curable disease in nearly every patient at the time of diagnosis, yet despite the most aggressive efforts, up to 30-50 percent of patients may ultimately succumb to the disease. For diseases where outcomes are so uncertain, medical science frequently addresses the need by intensifying therapy. In the case of head and neck cancer, one of the great questions of the current day is whether or not addition of multiple drugs to radiation therapy is superior to the current standard of care therapy with one drug and radiation. In particular, physicians have wondered if the addition of the more tolerable targeted biologic therapy to chemotherapy results in improved patient outcomes. Unfortunately, the data suggests that it does not.

A team of scientists, including Neil Hayes, MD, MPH, from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, report results of a clinical trial comparing treatments for this cancer, the seventh most common tumor type in the United States.

Standard therapy for SCCHN is a combination of the drug cisplatin and radiotherapy. The clinical trial compared this combination to the combination with the addition of a small-molecule inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor called Erlotinib. EGFR is a therapeutic target for this type of cancer and at least one other EGFR is approved for multiple uses in the treatment of head and neck cancer, including in combination with radiation. To date, no data has been published on the use of EGFR inhibitors in combination with chemotherapy and radiation.. The goal of the current study was to determine if adding EGRF inhibition improved efficacy when combined with standard of care radiation. Unfortunately, it improved neither clinical response rate nor progression free survival.

Their results were published in the early online March 4, 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Hayes, associate professor of medicine, explains, "There has been great enthusiasm and some confusion about the combinations of chemotherapy and biologic therapy such as EGFR inhibitors in conjunction with radiation in the treatment of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. For the moment, the data are clearly showing no added benefit. Since the study was initially designed, it is interesting to note that novel theories have emerged about subgroups of patients who might be more likely to benefit from the specific therapies under consideration. Future investigations will clearly rely more on patients selected by the molecular tumor characteristics."

Between December 2006 and October 2011, 204 patients with locally advanced SCCHN were recruited to the study. Participants were assigned to receive either cisplatin and radiotherapy or the same chemoradiotherapy with Erlotinab.

Other institutions participating in the study were the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington; Multicare Health Systems in Covington, Washington; University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston; the University of Miami in Florida; Coastal Carolina Radiation Oncology in Wilmington, North Carolina; and the University of Tennessee in Memphis.

Funding for the study was provided to the University of Washington by Genentech in San Francisco, California, and Astellas Pharma Global Development in Northbrook, Illinois.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina Health Care. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. G. Martins, U. Parvathaneni, J. E. Bauman, A. K. Sharma, L. E. Raez, M. A. Papagikos, F. Yunus, B. F. Kurland, K. D. Eaton, J. J. Liao, E. Mendez, N. Futran, D. X. Wang, X. Chai, S. G. Wallace, M. Austin, R. Schmidt, D. N. Hayes. Cisplatin and Radiotherapy With or Without Erlotinib in Locally Advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: A Randomized Phase II Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2013; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2012.46.3299

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina Health Care. "Comparing combination therapies for advanced head and neck cancer shows no improvement." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307124556.htm>.
University of North Carolina Health Care. (2013, March 7). Comparing combination therapies for advanced head and neck cancer shows no improvement. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307124556.htm
University of North Carolina Health Care. "Comparing combination therapies for advanced head and neck cancer shows no improvement." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307124556.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins