Purpose: We attempted in our clinic to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of a simultaneous application of a cis-platinum-based chemotherapy and interstitial hyperthermia to interstitial pulsed-dose rate (PDR) brachytherapy in patients with recurrent head-and-neck cancer.
Methods and materials: Between April 1999 and September 2001, 15 patients with recurrent head-and-neck cancer were treated with PDR brachytherapy, chemotherapy, and interstitial hyperthermia. All patients had received prior radiation therapy. A dose per pulse of 0.46 to 0.55 Gy was given up to a median total dose of 55 Gy. Simultaneously to the PDR brachytherapy, chemotherapy was given with cis-platinum 20 mg/m2 as a short i.v. infusion each day and 5-fluorouracil 800 mg/m2 by continuous infusion from Day 1 to Day 5. After the PDR brachytherapy was finished, all patients were treated with a single session of interstitial hyperthermia.
Results: All the patients could receive the whole treatment. After treatment, only mild oral mucositis occurred. One patient developed soft tissue ulceration. None of the patients developed osteoradionecrosis. After a median follow-up of 6 months, the local tumor control rate was 80% (12 of 15), and the 2-year overall survival was 67% (10 of 15).
Conclusions: The intensification of the interstitial PDR brachytherapy with chemotherapy and hyperthermia is feasible and safe, and the preliminary results are encouraging.