Predictors of outcome with cetuximab and paclitaxel for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Laryngoscope (2016)


OBJECTIVES: Identify predictors of outcome in patients with recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (RMHNSCC) treated with weekly cetuximab and paclitaxel (CP).

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective analysis.

METHODS: Patients with RMHNSCC treated with CP were identified and patient data was recorded. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate outcomes, and Cox regression analysis was used to examine outcome predictors.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine patients initiated CP between January 2007 and June 2014. Median age was 56 (range: 39-80) years. The most common primary sites were the oropharynx in 22 (37%) patients, oral cavity in 19 (32%), and larynx in 11 (19%). Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) was 0 in seven (12%), 1 in 32 (54%), and 2 in 16 (28%) patients. In 44 (75%) patients, CP was used as a first-line R/M regimen. Median number of cycles was five (range: 1-29). Dose modifications were necessary in 27 (46%) patients. The objective response rate was 47.5%, with 27 (45.8%) partial responses and one (2%) complete response. With a median follow-up of 13.4 months, median progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 7.7 and 13.2 months, respectively. On multivariable analysis, an ECOG of 2 of 3 was associated with inferior OS (hazard ratio [HR]: 3.94; P = 0.01; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1-14.04) and PFS (HR: 7.29; P < 0.01; 95% CI: 2.1-26.0) compared to an ECOG 0 of 1. First-line CP administration was associated with superior PFS compared to second line (HR: 2.6; P = 0.02; 95% CI:1.2-5.5).

CONCLUSIONS: CP is well tolerated in this population of patients, with favorable tumor efficacy. First-line use and an ECOG 0 of 1 points appears to confer superior outcomes.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4. Laryngoscope, 2016.