University of Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have uncovered that by reducing the intensity levels of radiation during treatment for human papillomavirus-associated (HPV)-linked head and neck cancer, results generated 2-year progression-free survival rate couple with less side effects.
Recently reported in Journal of Clinical Oncology, the results generated from a Phase II clinical trial involving 114 patients with HPV-linked head and neck cancer (limited smoking history). When compared to standard of care (e.g. intensity levels involved with previous studies), the de-intensification involving a reduction in radiation and chemotherapy looks to work better than the standard seven-week regimen, reported Bhishamjit S. Chera, MD, UNC Lineberger.
During the study, the patients were given a reduced amount of radiation therapy (60 Gray) and lower dose of chemotherapy (cisplatin) over a six week period. As compared to the standard of care (seven week and 70 Gray treatment and high-dose chemotherapy), the results were better in this UNC study.
The long-term side effects of radiation treatment are problematic and range from swallowing problems to dry mouth. Consequently, patients often require a feeding tube post treatment while some patients report material long-term swallowing problems. In this latest de-intensified study, swallowing problems were less severe and only 34% of the patients required a feeding tube.
The results of this study were perhaps surprising for some and encouraging for at least patients with a limited smoking history. Larger validated randomized clinical trials will be needed to validate these findings. A key moving forward is to identify additional biomarkers to support ongoing advancement of precision treatment approaches.
Bhishamjit S. Chera, MD, associate professor, UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology
Call to Action: Interested in learning more about this study? We include a link to the principal investigator and contact details.Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology