Objective: To review our experience in the treatment of concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCR) for patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and to evaluate the different factors affecting survival and primary organ preservation.
Methods: We reviewed the records of 101 patients with SCCHN treated with CCR between February 1998 and April 2004. Of 101 patients, 76 were treated with a cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil, methotrexate, and leucovorin (PFML) regimen and 25 were treated with a carboplatin and uracil-tegafur (CBDCA-UFT) regimen. Overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS) and DSS with primary organ preservation were estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods. The log-rank test and Cox proportional hazards regression were employed to identify significant prognostic factors for OS, DSS, and DSS with primary organ preservation.
Results: The 5-year OS and DSS for all patients were 51.6 and 67.4%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, resectability of the tumor and degree of histological differentiation were significant predictors of survival for patients undergoing CCR; T stage and differentiation were significant prognostic factors for primary organ preservation.
Conclusion: In the treatment of CCR for advanced SCCHN, the survival rate of the patients with resectable tumors was excellent and significantly greater compared with the patients with unresectable tumors. T1 to T3 disease in patients with advanced resectable SCCHN is a good predictor of organ preservation. CCR may improve not only primary organ preservation (local control) but also survival in patients with poorly differentiated tumors.