Chemotherapy for recurrent, metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck need not be known for extreme toxicity.The weekly regimen studied here has been demonstrated to be tolerable and effective.The objective of this study was to establish the response rate, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), and safety profile of weekly docetaxel, platinum, and cetuximab (TPC) in patients with relapsed or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).Twenty-nine patients with metastatic or recurrent SCCHN with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status <3 were enrolled in an institutional review board-approved phase II trial. This study permitted prior chemoradiation, radiation, and/or surgery, provided that 3 months had elapsed since the end of the potentially curative treatment. Patients received cisplatin 30 mg/m2 or carboplatin area under the curve (AUC) 2, docetaxel 30 mg/m2, and cetuximab 250 mg/m2 weekly for 3 weeks, followed by a break during the fourth week, for a 28-day cycle. Planned intrapatient dose modifications were based on individual toxicity.Twenty-seven patients received TPC and were evaluable for response and toxicity. Rates of complete response (CR), partial response (PR), and confirmed PR were 3%, 52%, and 30%, respectively. The overall objective response rate was 56%. Estimated median PFS and OS were 4.8 and 14.7 months, respectively. The rates of grade 3 and 4 worst-grade adverse events (AEs) per patient were 85% and 7%, respectively. Dose density through cycle 4 was preserved for all patients; however, treatment beyond cycle 6 with the TPC regimen proved unfeasible.Weekly docetaxel, cisplatin, and cetuximab is an effective regimen for patients with metastatic or recurrent SCCHN. Response rates, PFS, and OS compare favorably with other combination chemotherapy treatments. Grade 4 toxicity rates observed in this study were substantially lower than those described with regimens using less frequent, higher-dose chemotherapy schedules.
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