Phase 1 Dose Escalation of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy and Concurrent Cisplatin for Reirradiation of Unresectable, Recurrent Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2023 Oct 1;117(2):341-347. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.04.007. Epub 2023 Apr 25.


Purpose: Patients with locoregional recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) have relatively poor outcomes; therefore, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has been investigated for this patient population. We performed a phase 1 clinical trial to establish a maximum tolerated dose of SBRT with concurrent cisplatin in previously irradiated locoregional SCCHN.

Methods and materials: Patients with recurrent SCCHN who had previously undergone radiation therapy to doses ≥45 Gy to the area of recurrence ≥6 months before enrollment and who were not surgical candidates or refused surgery were eligible. SBRT was delivered every other day for 5 fractions. Starting dose level was 6 Gy × 5 fractions, followed by 7 Gy × 5 fractions and 8 Gy × 5 fractions. Chemotherapy consisted of cisplatin given before every SBRT fraction at a dose of 15 mg/m2. Patients were monitored for dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) that occurred within 3 months from the start of SBRT. Secondary endpoints included locoregional failure, distant metastasis, and overall survival.

Results: Twenty patients were enrolled, with 18 patients evaluable for endpoints. One patient at dose level 1 (30 Gy) died of unknown causes 2 weeks following completion of treatment. Therefore, an additional 3 patients were accrued to the 30-Gy dose level, with no further DLTs observed. Three patients were then accrued at dose level 2 (35 Gy) and 9 patients at dose level 3 (40 Gy) without DLTs. At a median follow-up of 9.5 months, cumulative incidence of locoregional failure at 2 years was 61% (95% confidence interval [CI], 12%-66%), cumulative incidence of distant metastasis was 11% (95% CI, 74%-100%) at 2 years, and overall survival was 22% (95% CI, 9%-53%) at 2 years.

Conclusions: Concurrent cisplatin and reirradiation with an SBRT dose of ≤40 Gy was safe and feasible in patients with locoregionally recurrent or second primary SCCHN.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / radiotherapy
  • Cisplatin
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Radiosurgery* / adverse effects
  • Radiosurgery* / methods
  • Re-Irradiation* / adverse effects
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / therapy


  • Cisplatin