Induction chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy for N3 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

BACKGROUND:

The treatment outcomes for N3 HNSCC treated with induction chemotherapy (ICT) followed by definitive radiation were reported to clarify the role of ICT and potential prognostic factors.

METHODS:

A retrospective study was conducted on 120 patients with N3 (≥6 cm) HNSCC, who were treated with ICT as initial treatment. Survival outcomes and potential prognostic factors were reported.

RESULTS:

The response rate to ICT was 68.3%. There was a statistically significant difference between responders and non-responders in terms of 5-year OS (35.1% vs 13.3%, P < .001) and PFS (29.4% vs 7.4%, P < .001). Good response to ICT (P < .001) and upfront neckdissection (UFND) before radiotherapy (P = .016) were factors predicting for better OS. However, UFND before radiotherapy was not associated with improved outcomes among responders.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study suggests that ICT could be one treatment option for N3 HNSCC. Among responders to ICT, UFND before radiotherapy could be avoided.