Boron neutron capture therapy using cyclotron-based epithermal neutron source and borofalan (10B) for recurrent or locally advanced head and neck cancer (JHN002): An open-label phase II trial

Radiother Oncol. 2021 Feb;155:182-187. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2020.11.001. Epub 2020 Nov 11.


Background and purpose: Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) can be performed without reactors due to development of cyclotron-based epithermal neutron source (C-BENS), which is optimized for treatment for deeper-seated tumors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate efficacy and safety of cyclotron-based BNCT with borofalan (10B) for recurrent or locally advanced head and neck cancer.

Materials and methods: In this open-label, phase II JHN002 trial of BNCT using C-BENS with borofalan (10B), patients with recurrent squamous cell carcinoma (R-SCC) or with recurrent/locally advanced non-squamous cell carcinoma (R/LA-nSCC) of the head and neck were intravenously administered 400 mg/kg borofalan (10B), followed by neutron irradiation. The tumor dose was determined passively as the mucosal maximum dose of 12 Gy-Eq. The primary endpoint was the objective response rate (ORR). Post-trial observational JHN002 Look Up study was planned for evaluating locoregional progression-free survival (LRPFS).

Results: Eight R-SCC and 13 R/LA-nSCC patients were enrolled. All R-SCC patients had prior radiotherapy with a median dose of 65.5 Gy (range, 59.4-76.0 Gy). The ORR for all patients was 71%, and complete response/partial response were 50%/25% in R-SCC and 8%/62% in R/LA-nSCC. The 2-year overall survival for R-SCC and R/LA-nSCC were 58% and 100%, respectively. The median LRPFS was 11.5 months for R-SCC. Frequently observed adverse events included alopecia (95%), hyperamylasemia (86%), and nausea (81%).

Conclusion: These data suggest that BNCT using C-BENS with borofalan (10B) is a promising treatment option for patients with R-SCC or R/LA-nSCC of the head and neck.

Keywords: Borofalan ((10)B); Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT); C-BENS; Head and neck cancer; Phase II study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Boron Neutron Capture Therapy*
  • Cyclotrons
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Neutrons