Cetuximab and paclitaxel combination therapy for recurrent basaloid squamous cell carcinoma in the ethmoid sinus

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2021 Dec;48(6):1189-1192. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2020.07.002. Epub 2020 Jul 16.


Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma (BSCC), a histologically distinctive variant of squamous cell carcinoma comprising basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, is aggressive and shows a poor prognosis because of frequent lymph node invasion and distant metastases. To date few articles regarding chemotherapy for metastatic disease have been reported, thus feasible chemotherapy is not well established. Cetuximab is a monoclonal antibody for epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR), which has great efficacy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma due to EGFR signaling pathway blockage. Because BSCC also highly expresses EGFR, cetuximab may be effective for BSCC. We report here a first case of recurrent BSCC in the ethmoid sinus with intracranial extension treated with cetuximab-based chemotherapy, which revealed great response in a 40-year-old man. Positron emission tomography (PET) revealed no lymph node or distant metastasis. The patient underwent chemoradiotherapy 66 Gy in 33 fractions with triweekly 100 mg/m2 cisplatin. However, 12 weeks after treatment completion PET revealed a residual tumor at the primary cancer site. Combination therapy with weekly paclitaxel and cetuximab was started, and complete response was observed 2 months from treatment initiation. The patient has maintained complete response for 32 months, and no tumor regrowth has been observed.

Keywords: Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma; Cetuximab; Chemotherapy; Head and neck; Metastasis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cetuximab / administration & dosage*
  • Cetuximab / adverse effects
  • Ethmoid Sinus* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage*
  • Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms / pathology
  • Positron-Emission Tomography


  • Paclitaxel
  • Cetuximab