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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 45  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 83-89

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy in head and neck cancer

Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr. E. Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, India

Correspondence Address:
Preetesh Jain
Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr. E. Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.44061

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The multidisciplinary approach to treating squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is complex and evolving. Chemotherapy is increasingly being incorporated into the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Previously, radiotherapy following surgery was the standard approach to the treatment of loco regionally advanced resectable disease. Data from randomized trials have confirmed the benefits of concurrent chemo radiotherapy in the adjuvant setting. Chemo radiotherapy is also the recommended approach for unresectable disease. Advanced loco regional disease is the most frequent clinical situation in Head and Neck cancer. The standard of care for most clinicians is a multidisciplinary treatment with concomitant chemotherapy plus radiotherapy (CRT). However, retrospective studies have shown that in patients treated with CRT there was a relative increase in systemic relapse due to a lack of systemic control. For this reason a renewed interest has appeared for the incorporation of induction chemotherapy in the treatment of locally advanced Head and Neck Cancer. Furthermore new combination regimens with taxanes have shown to be more active than the classical cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil induction regimen. Novel targeted agents, such as epidermal growth factor receptor antagonists, are showing promise in the treatment of patients with both loco regionally advanced and recurrent/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.


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