Cetuximab-based Therapy in Recurrent/Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Experience From an Area in Which Betel Nut Chewing Is Popular

Peter Mu Hsin Chang, Yao Yu Hsieh, Ming Huang Chen, Cheng Hwai Tzeng, Pen Yuan Chu, Shyue Yih Chang, Po Min Chen, Muh Hwa Yang

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Background: This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy and safety of cetuximab-based therapy in recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in an area in which betel nut chewing is popular. Methods: Twenty-five patients were enrolled in the study from 2004 to 2008, of whom 13 received first-line cetuximab plus chemotherapy and 12 received second-line cetuximab with or without chemotherapy after the failure of cisplatin. Results: In the first-line chemotherapy group, the overall response [complete response (CR) plus partial response (PR)] was 54% and disease control rate [CR + PR + stable disease (SD)] was 62%. In the cisplatin-failure therapy group, the overall response was 16.7% and disease control rate was 50%. Median overall survival (OS) and time to progression (TTP) in the first-line chemotherapy group were 857 days and 147 days, respectively. In the cisplatin-failure therapy group, median OS and TTP were 371 days and 136 days, respectively. The most common grade 3/4 toxicity in both groups of patients was infection/fever (23% in the first-line group, 50% in the cisplatin-failure group), followed by neutropenia (23% in the first-line group, 25% in the cisplatin-failure group). Conclusion: Cetuximab-based therapy is an effective and safe treatment choice for recurrent/metastatic HNSCC in areas where betel nut chewing is popular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-299
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Betel nut
  • Cetuximab
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Taxane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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