Toxicity of induction chemotherapy with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil for advanced head and neck cancer

Salem Billan, Orit Kaidar-Person, Fadi Atrash, Ilana Doweck, Nissim Haim, Abraham Kuten, Ohad Ronen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: The role of induction chemotherapy in advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) is under constant debate. Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies are part of the treatment strategy in these patients, but their sequence remains to be defined. Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility of induction chemotherapy with docetaxel-cisplatin-5-flurouracil (TPF) followed by external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) with concomitant chemotherapy or cetuximab (ERT) in the treatment of patients with advanced SCCHN. Methods: We reviewed the data of all patients with advanced SCCHN, stage III and IV, treated in 2007-2010. Tolerability was assessed and scored according to the proportion of patients completing the planned study protocol. Toxicity was scored using the U.S. National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (version 4) for classification of adverse events. Results: The study included 53 patients. TPF was initiated at a reduced dose in 13 patients (25%). Twenty-two patients (41.5%) received primary prophylaxis with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) and 42 (77%) completed treatment according to schedule. During the induction phase one patient (2%) died and 24 (45%) had one or more grade 3-4 complications. The number of patients who developed neutropenia was lower in the group that received primary GCSF prophylaxis. Secondary dose reductions were required in 21% of the patients. Conclusions: Induction TPF was associated with grade 3-4 toxicity. Prophylaxis with GCSF should be part of the treatment regimen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cisplatin
  • Docetaxel
  • Induction therapy (ICT)
  • Radiotherapy
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN)


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