Neoadjuvant PFL augmented by methotrexate and piritrexim followed by concomitant chemoradiotherapy for advanced head and neck cancer: a feasible and active approach

Ann Oncol. 1992 Jan;3(1):79-81. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.annonc.a058079.


To increase the complete remission (CR) rate achieved with two cycles of cisplatin, continuous infusion fluorouracil (5-FU) and oral leucovorin (PFL) we added two antifolate drugs, methotrexate (MTX) and the lipophilic piritrexim (PTX), to the combination (PFL-MP). Twenty-eight patients with previously untreated Stage IV squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck received 2 cycles of cisplatin 100 mg/m2 on day 1 followed by a 5-day continuous infusion of 5-FU at 800 mg/m2/day and 100 mg of leucovorin administered orally every 4 hours. MTX was administered at 40 mg/m2 IV on day 15 and PTX at 75 mg orally twice daily on days 22 to 26, with cycle 2 starting on day 36. After 2 of the first 5 patients had tumor progression between days 15 and 35, the regimen was intensified to MTX 50 mg/m2, PTX 100 mg twice daily and a cycle duration of 28 days. Local therapy consisted of surgery and/or radiotherapy with concomitant 5-FU and hydroxyurea (FHX) administered every other week. Eleven patients (39%, 95% confidence intervals 21-57%) had a CR, 9 (32%) had a PR, and four patients had no response. Four patients were unevaluable for response to PFL-MP. Patients with poor performance status or N3 disease were less likely to achieve a CR. Mucositis following PFL was the dose-limiting toxicity. Local therapy included surgery in 15 patients and FHX chemoradiotherapy in 19 patients. The administration of FHX in this setting proved feasible and the regimen was given near the intended dose intensity in the majority of patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Pyrimidines
  • piritrexim
  • Cisplatin
  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • PFL protocol
  • PFL-MP protocol