Selective organ preservation in operable locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinomas guided by primary site restaging biopsy: long-term results of two sequential brown university oncology group chemoradiotherapy studies.
Objective: The long-term outcomes of selective organ preservation in operable, locally advanced head and neck cancers in two sequential chemoradiotherapy (CRT) protocols (HN-53, HN-67) are reported.
Methods: A total of 65 patients were treated with CRT consisting of carboplatin (AUC=1/week) and paclitaxel (60 or 40 mg/m2/week) with radiation (1.8 Gy/day). After 5 weeks of CRT, if primary site biopsies were pathologically negative, then completion CRT to 67-72 Gy was done with neck dissection in node-positive cases. Alternatively, a positive rebiopsy required primary site resection and neck dissection followed by radiotherapy boost as deemed necessary.
Results: Pathologic complete responses occurred in 71% patients who then completed CRT; the remaining 29% patients underwent primary site surgery. The 5-year and median overall survival were 47% and 57 months with no statistically significant differences between the two groups. Overall long-term failure rates were: 6% local, 6% regional, and 32% distant.
Conclusions: This strategy of selective organ preservation was effective in 71% patients with CRT, whereas salvage surgery was required in the remainder. Long-term survival was equivalent in both treatment groups.