An initial experience using concurrent paclitaxel and radiation in the treatment of head and neck malignancies

Roy B. Tishler, Paul M. Busse, Charles M. Norris, René́ Rossi, Mark Poulin, Lee Thornhill, Rosemary Costello, Edward S. Peters, A. Dimitrios Colevas, Marshall R. Posner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Combined modality therapy plays a central role in the management of head and neck malignancies. This study examined the feasibility and preliminary results of treating a group of patients using concurrent bolus paclitaxel (Taxol(TM)) and radiation therapy. Methods: Fourteen patients with a median age of 56 years (range 42-81) were treated. Paclitaxel was given every 3 weeks at a dose of 100 mg/m2 concurrently with external beam radiation. The patients treated included those who had failed to achieve a complete response (CR) to induction chemotherapy with cisplatin, 5- fluorouracil, and leucovorin (PFL), or who had locally advanced disease not previously treated. Results: Median follow-up from the initiation of treatment is 40 months (range 23-48). The majority of patients (13/14) achieved clinical CRs at the primary site. The development of responses was characterized by a long time course. Three patients who were nonresponders (NRs) to induction PFL chemotherapy were treated. One was a clinical CR at the primary site, one did not achieve a CR, and the other had residual disease in the neck. Four patients have failed, one with local-regional disease, one with a marginal failure, one with distant metastases, and one was not rendered disease-free by the treatment. As expected, significant local toxicity was observed. Most patients were managed with the aid of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). Two patients experienced significant moist desquamation and required treatment breaks of greater than 1 week. Conclusion: Paclitaxel can be given on a 3-week schedule at 100 mg/m2 concurrently with radiation. The preliminary results indicate good local responses and acceptable toxicity. This treatment approach merits further study in the treatment of head and neck malignancies, and should be considered as an option in other sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1008
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 15 1999


  • Combined modality therapy
  • Head and neck
  • Paclitaxel
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'An initial experience using concurrent paclitaxel and radiation in the treatment of head and neck malignancies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this