Feasibility and Efficacy of Subcutaneous Amifostine Therapy in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer Treated With Curative Accelerated Concomitant-Boost Radiation Therapy
To assess the feasibility and efficacy of subcutaneous amifostine therapy in patients with head and neck cancer treated with curative accelerated radiotherapy (RT). Retrospective study. University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland. Thirty-three consecutive patients (male-female ratio, 4.5; median age, 54 years [age range, 39-76 years]). Between November 2000 and January 2003, the 33 patients were treated with curative definitive (n = 19) or postoperative (n = 14) RT with (n = 26) or without (n = 7) chemotherapy. All patients received conformal RT. Fractionation schedule consisted of concomitant-boost (Friday afternoon session) accelerated RT using 70 Gy (2 Gy per fraction) in 6 weeks in patients treated with definitive RT and 66 Gy (2 Gy per fraction) in 5 weeks and 3 days in the postoperative setting. Parotid glands received at least 50 Gy in all patients. Amifostine was administered to a total dose of 500 mg subcutaneously, 15 to 30 minutes before morning RT sessions. All patients received their planned treatment (including chemotherapy). Ten patients received the full schedule of amifostine (at least 25 injections), 9 received 20 to 24 doses, 4 received 10 to 19 doses, 5 received 5 to 9 doses, and 5 received fewer than 5 doses. Fifteen patients (45%) did not show any intolerance related to amifostine use. Amifostine therapy was discontinued because of nausea in 11 patients (33%) and hypotension in 6 patients (18%), and 1 patient refused treatment. No grade 3, amifostine-related, cutaneous toxic effects were observed. Radiotherapy-induced grade 3 acute toxic effects included mucositis in 14 patients (42%), erythema in 14 patients (42%), and dysphagia in 13 patients (39%). Late toxic effects included grade 2 or more xerostomia in 17 patients (51%) and fibrosis in 3 patients (9%). Grade 2 or more xerostomia was observed in 8 (42%) of 19 patients receiving 20 injections or more vs 9 (64%) of 14 patients receiving fewer than 20 injections (P = .15). Subcutaneous amifostine administration in combination with accelerated concomitant-boost RT with or without chemotherapy is feasible. The major adverse effect of subcutaneous administration was nausea despite prophylactic antiemetic medication, and hypotension was observed in only 6 patients (18%).