Taxanes in the treatment of head and neck cancer

Curr Opin Oncol. 2005 May;17(3):218-24. doi: 10.1097/01.cco.0000158735.91723.0e.

Abstract

Purpose of review: This review presents new data on the role of paclitaxel and docetaxel in the management of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Recently both agents have been tested in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents, targeted drugs, and radiotherapy in in-vitro experiments and in the clinic as first-line treatment of patients with metastatic/recurrent and locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Recent findings: The combination of taxanes with standard or accelerated radiotherapy is feasible and induction chemotherapy followed by chemoradiation is active and feasible without excessive toxicity in patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. The use of low-dose fractionated radiotherapy shows promising in-vitro and clinical results and is further explored.

Summary: Both docetaxel and paclitaxel can be combined with chemotherapeutic agents and radiotherapy, but phase III studies are needed to prove the superiority of these approaches compared to standard treatment. The final results of the combination study of cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil with or without docetaxel may change the standard chemotherapeutic regimen for induction chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Docetaxel
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / trends
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage*
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage*

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Paclitaxel