Purpose: To analyze the relationship between overall survival (OS) and radiation treatment time (RTT) and overall treatment time (OTT) in a well-described sequential therapy paradigm for locally advanced head-and-neck carcinoma (LAHNC).
Methods and materials: TAX 324 is a Phase III study comparing TPF (docetaxel, cisplatin, and fluorouracil) with PF (cisplatin and fluorouracil) induction chemotherapy (IC) in LAHNC patients; both arms were followed by carboplatin-based chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Prospective radiotherapy quality assurance was performed. This analysis includes all patients who received three cycles of IC and a radiation dose of ≥70 Gy. Radiotherapy treatment time was analyzed as binary (≤8 weeks vs. longer) and continuous (number of days beyond 8 weeks) functions. The primary analysis assessed the relationship between RTT, OTT, and OS, and the secondary analysis explored the association between treatment times and locoregional recurrence (LRR).
Results: A total of 333 (of 501) TAX 324 patients met the criteria for inclusion in this analysis. There were no significant differences between the treatment arms in baseline or treatment characteristics. On multivariable analysis, PF IC, World Health Organization performance status of 1, non-oropharynx site, T3/4 stage, N3 status, and prolonged RTT (hazard ratio 1.63, p=0.006) were associated with significantly inferior survival. Performance status, T3/4 disease, and prolonged RTT (odds ratio 1.68, p=0.047) were independently and negatively related to LRR on multivariable analysis, whereas PF was not. Overall treatment time was not independently associated with either OS or LRR.
Conclusions: In this secondary analysis of the TAX 324 trial, TPF IC remains superior to PF IC after controlling for radiotherapy delivery time. Even with optimal IC and concurrent chemotherapy, a non-prolonged RTT is a crucial determinant of treatment success. Appropriate delivery of radiotherapy after IC remains essential for optimizing OS in LAHNC.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.