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Phase II study of the combination of cetuximab and weekly paclitaxel in the first-line treatment of patients with recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck



Phase II study of the combination of cetuximab and weekly paclitaxel in the first-line treatment of patients with recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck



Annals of Oncology 23(4): 1016-1022



The efficacy and safety of a novel combination of weekly paclitaxel and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibody cetuximab for the first-line treatment of recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck were investigated. Patients received paclitaxel (80 mg/m(2)) and cetuximab (400/250 mg/m(2)), weekly, until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary end point was response rate. Among 46 patients enrolled, the overall response rate was 54% [95% confidence interval (CI) 39% to 69%], with 10 (22%) complete responses and a disease control rate of 80%. Median progression-free and overall survival times were 4.2 (95% CI 2.9-5.5 months) and 8.1 months (95% CI 6.6-9.6 months), respectively. Common grade 3/4 adverse events were acne-like rash (24%), asthenia (17%) and neutropenia (13%). Prior chemotherapy and the development of acne-like rash were associated with tumor response but not survival. No association between tumor EGFR expression or EGFR gene copy number and response or survival was found. The combination of cetuximab and weekly paclitaxel was active and well tolerated by these poor prognosis patients and may be an option for the treatment of medically unfit patients, particularly those for whom platinum is contraindicated.

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Accession: 036368815

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PMID: 21865152

DOI: 10.1093/annonc/mdr367


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