Choosing a concomitant chemotherapy and radiotherapy regimen for squamous cell head and neck cancer: A systematic review of the published literature with subgroup analysis

Head Neck. 2001 Jul;23(7):579-89. doi: 10.1002/hed.1081.


Background: A systematic review was conducted to develop clinical recommendations for concomitant chemotherapy (CT) and radiotherapy (RT) in patients with locally advanced squamous cell head and neck cancer (SCHNC).

Methods: Results of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were pooled using Meta-analyst(0.988) software.

Results: A pooled analysis of 18 RCTs (20 comparisons) involving 3,192 patients detected a reduction in mortality for concomitant therapy compared with RT alone (odds ratio [OR], 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.52-0.74; relative risk, 0.83; risk reduction, 11%; p < .00001). Platinum-based regimens involving 1,514 patients from nine trials (10 comparisons) were most effective (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.46-0.71; p < .00001; risk reduction, 12%). Concomitant therapy produced more acute adverse effects than RT alone.

Conclusion: Platinum-based concomitant CT and RT is superior to conventional RT alone in improving survival in locally advanced SCHNC. Subgroup analyses can be used to help in choosing the most appropriate concomitant regimen.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic