In patients with locally advanced human papillomavirus (HPV)-unrelated head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma (HNSCC), cisplatin and radiation therapy (CisRT) resulted in a local–regional recurrence (LRR) rate of 35%, progression-free survival (PFS) of 49%, and overall survival (OS) of 60%. We, and others, showed that nab-paclitaxel is an active agent in metastatic and locally advanced HNSCC. The aim of this report was to assess the efficacy of nab-paclitaxel-based induction chemotherapy and CisRT in HPV-unrelated HNSCC. We performed a retrospective single-institution analysis of patients treated with nab-paclitaxel-based chemotherapy and CisRT. Key inclusion criteria included stage III–IV HPV-unrelated HNSCC. Induction chemotherapy included nab-paclitaxel and cisplatin (AP), AP + 5-fluorouracil (APF), or APF + Cetuximab (APF-C). Endpoints included LRR, overall relapse, PFS, and OS. Thirty-eight patients were the subject of this analysis. Patient characteristics included median age 59 years (IQR: 54–64) and smoking history in 36 patients (95%). Primary tumor sites included larynx/hypopharynx (27), p16 negative oropharynx (10), and oral cavity (1). Most patients had bulky disease: 82% T3–4 (n = 31) and 74% N2b–3 (n = 28). Median follow-up was 44 months (IQR: 23–59). The three-year LRR rate was 16% (95% confidence interval [CI] 7–34) and the overall relapse rate was 22% (95% CI 11–41). The three-year PFS was 64% (95% CI 46–77) and OS was 72% (95% CI 54–84). Among patients with HPV-unrelated HNSCC, nab-paclitaxel-based induction chemotherapy and CisRT resulted in a lower-than-expected rate of LRR and more favorable PFS and OS compared to historical results with CisRT.
- Head and neck cancer