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


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.


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.


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.


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