Background: The present study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a combination of helical tomotherapy (HT) or intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) inhibitor (Cetuximab or Nimotuzumab) with or without chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced hypopharyngeal carcinoma.
Patients and Methods: The retrospective study included forty-six patients (12 stage III and 34 stage IV) with locally advanced hypopharyngeal cancer. Among them, 20 were treated with induction chemotherapy with docetaxel and cisplatin (TP) followed by concurrent chemoradiotherapy with cisplatin and EGFR inhibitor, 13 received concurrent chemoradiotherapy with cisplatin and EGFR inhibitor, and 13 were treated with concurrent radiotherapy plus EGFR inhibitor. HT and IMRT were performed in 33 and 13 patients, respectively. Side effects were evaluated with the established CTCAE (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events) 3.0 criteria.
Results: The median follow-up time was 39.4 months (range 3-69 months). All patients completed the planned RT without any treatment breaks. The 3-year local control survival, disease-free survival, overall survival, and laryngeal preservation survival rates were 66.8%, 59.0%, 68.9%, and 86.7%, respectively. The most common grade 3 or higher side effect was oropharyngeal mucositis. One patient required dilatation of a pharyngeal stricture 18 months after treatment. No patient required percutaneous gastrostomy and tracheostomy tube.
Conclusion: The treatment with EGFR inhibitor in combination with non-surgical combined modality in patients with hypopharyngeal carcinoma was well tolerated and resulted in encouraging laryngeal preservation survival rate. HT or IMRT, EGFR inhibitor, and effective management of severe oropharyngeal mucositis contributed to the positive outcomes.