The targeted therapies erlotinib and cetuximab, in combination with standard chemotherapy regimens, are well tolerated and have very encouraging activity in recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, according to two presentations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2007 Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Explore this issue:February 2008
Interrupting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway has shown promise in a variety of cancers, and preclinical data have demonstrated possible synergy with platinums and taxanes, said Edward S. Kim, MD, Assistant Professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Treatment options for recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma are limited.
An M. D. Anderson study of cisplatin and docetaxel showed a response rate of 40% and median survival of 9.6 months. Erlotinib, an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, had a 4.3% response rate as a single agent in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Because of the possible synergy and efficacy, we proposed to study the combination of cisplatin, docetaxel, and erlotinib in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, Dr. Kim said.