Science and Technology
30.10.2010

Radiotherapy and cetuximab is more effective for patients with HPV-positive cancer

Research has shown that adding the drug showed significant improvement in the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer

Foto: Divulgação/Boston Hospital
Patient undergoes radiation therapy session in a specialized hospital
Patient undergoes radiation therapy session in a specialized hospital

A new study conducted at Georgetown University in the United States, suggests that patients with head and neck cancer and HPV-positive have higher survival when treated with combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy with cetuximab.

The study examined tumors from patients treated sequentially between 2007 and 2009 with carcinoma of the head and neck treated with cetuximab and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). Of these patients, six had stage III disease and 14 had stage IV disease. The average age was 63 years (age ranged from 31 to 78). The IMRT patients received seven to eight weeks.

After a mean follow up of 19 months, four patients had died and 12 patients showed disease progression.

"We found a rate of progression-free survival was significant when comparing the outcomes of patients with HPV-positive tumors and patients with HPV-negative tumors," said lead study author Keith Unger.

100% of patients with HPV-positive tumors had a year of progression-free survival after treatment with cetuximab compared with only 31% of those who were HPV-negative. 60% of HPV-positive patients had two-year progression-free survival compared with 23% of patients with HPV-negative tumors.

Although not statistically significant, the researchers revealed a trend toward improvement in overall survival after the combined treatment of radiotherapy and cetuximab.

Swedish

Source: Isaude.net