Combination chemotherapy and irradiation for head and neck cancer: A review

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REVIEW OF THE RECENT LITERATURE pertaining to combination chemotherapy and irradiation for head and neck cancer reveals that only a relatively few prospective, randomized studies exist. The results are discouraging. In general, concomitant single-agent chemotherapy plus irradiation does not significantly alter survival, local control, or the rate of development of distant metastases. Combined intra-arterial chemotherapy plus irradiation results in high toxicity and complication rates, making its usefulness questionable. The concomitant use of multiple-agent chemotherapy plus irradiation requires further investigation, although early results again suggest unacceptable toxicity. Sequential multiple-agent chemotherapy followed by irradiation appears to be effective and relatively safe, and warrants further study.

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