Deployment of cisplatin in Veterans with oropharyngeal cancer: toxicity and impact on oncologic outcomes

Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2023 Jul 14;8(4):895-902. doi: 10.1002/lio2.1115. eCollection 2023 Aug.


Objective: Cisplatin forms the backbone of systemic chemotherapy treatment for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). The ideal cisplatin dosing regimen remains yet to be fully defined for achieving optimal efficacy and toxicity profiles in patients with comorbidity.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed oncologic and toxicity data for patients with OPSCC treated at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center between 2000 and 2020 who initiated curative intent, definitive chemo-radiation with one of three single agent regimens: high dose (HD) cisplatin, low dose (LD) cisplatin or cetuximab.

Results: Patients with HPV-associated tumors and nonsmokers demonstrated improved overall and disease-free survival along with locoregional and distant metastatic control regardless of chemotherapy regimen. Regardless of regimen selection, patients which received a cumulative cisplatin dose ≥200 mg/m2 had a lower rate of distant metastasis. The HD regimen resulted in a greater fraction (75% vs. 50%) of patients receiving a cumulative cisplatin dose ≥200 mg/m2 and a comparable measured toxicity burden compared to the LD regimen.

Conclusions: Both HD and LD cisplatin regimens can be safely delivered to a Veteran OPSCC patient population which should allow for straightforward application of conclusions drawn from completed and active clinical trials testing cisplatin regimens.

Level of evidence: 4.

Keywords: Veteran; cetuximab; cisplatin; creatinine; distant metastasis; locoregional recurrence; oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.