Chemotherapy in the management of squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Lancet Oncol. 2001 May;2(5):261-9. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(00)00320-X.


Previously reserved for palliation, chemotherapy is now also a central component of several curative approaches to the management of patients with advanced-stage head and neck cancer. Here we review the results of both induction chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy trials in patients with curable disease, and chemotherapy trials in patients with recurrent and metastatic disease, and we highlight current areas of investigation. Compared with traditional treatment modalities, chemotherapy given on induction schedules to patients with advanced laryngeal cancer allows greater organ preservation without compromise to survival; when given concomitantly with radiotherapy to patients with resectable or unresectable advanced disease, chemotherapy again improves survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research
  • Survival Rate


  • Antineoplastic Agents