Cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil as neoadjuvant chemotherapy: Predicting response in head and neck squamous cell cancer

H. M. Wang, C. H. Wang, J. S. Chen, H. K. Chang, M. C. Kiu, C. C. Liaw, K. T. Ng, G. M. Lai

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20 Citations (Scopus)


In order to prospectively evaluate the efficacy, toxicity and predictive factors of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a total of 120 patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer diagnosed from January 1992 to November 1993 were enrolled in this study. There were 118 male and 2 female patients, with a median age of 51 years (range 30-74 years). The primary sites were the oral cavity (77), oropharynx (15), hypopharynx (25) and larynx (3). Betel quid chewing was habitual in 91% of patients. All patients were previously untreated, and 94% had stage III or IV disease. Chemotherapy was given in two or three courses to 96 patients who were then assessed for response rate and predictive factors. The chemotherapy regimen consisted of cisplatin 100 mg/m2/day on day 1 and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) 1 g/m2/day intravenous infusion continuously for 4 to 5 days for 4 weeks. The overall chemotherapy response rate was 56%, with a 3% complete response. By univariate analysis, both the T-stage and tumor volume were significant for predicting the response of the primary site. The age, histologic differentiation, tumor location and N-stage were unpredictive for response. The nodal response (43%) was less than that of the primary site (68%). By multivariate analysis, only the tumor volume (≥ 50 cm3) and the presence of nodal metastases were predictive for the combined TN response. Based on the World Health Organization toxicity criteria, 49 patients experienced grade 3 to 4 mucositis, and 24 patients had grade 3 to 4 vomiting. Our data showing lower response and higher toxicity are not comparable with those of other published series. Further novel approaches are needed for future trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association = Taiwan yi zhi
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-fluorouracil
  • betel quid
  • cisplatin
  • head and neck cancer
  • neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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