Neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy in the multidisciplinary treatment of oral cancer stage III or IV.
ABSTRACT We performed a retrospective analysis on the effect of initial induction chemotherapy with two courses of cisplatin (each course 120 mg/m2 cisplatin on day 1, then 20 mg/m2 bleomycin (alone) per day for 5 days with 4 weeks between courses) in 75 consecutive patients with advanced cancer of the oral cavity or lip. Further local therapy consisted of surgery or radiation, depending on tumour location. In 18 resected patients adjuvant chemotherapy was added. This consisted of carboplatin, 400 mg/m2 on day 1 then ftorafur alone, 500 mg/m2/day for 30 consecutive days, repeated every month for 4 consecutive months. Among the patients treated in the neoadjuvant setting, complete response was observed in 10 out of 75 patients (13%), and partial response in a further 50 patients (67%) (partial plus complete rate 80%). Of all the patients, 43% in stage III and 26% in stage IV were long-term survivors. Improved survival was observed in surgical patients where adjuvant postoperative chemotherapy was added (P < 0.025). The main toxic effect was vomiting, observed in 71 patients. We noted a low rate of stomatitis (4%) and an important hearing loss (12%). Neoadjuvant and adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy as part of a multidisciplinary approach have a high overall response rate and low toxicity, and should increase survival in cancer of the oral cavity or lip.