The role of chemotherapy in the management of cancer of the head and neck: A review

J. R. Bertino, B. Boston, R. L. Capizzi

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93 Scopus citations


Although experience with drug therapy of advanced or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is limited, several agents have produced convincing and reproducible tumor regression in these patients. Methotrexate has had the widest usage, and produces 30–50% response rates; bleomycin, hydroxyurea, and adriamycin appear to be somewhat less effective. Location of the malignancy and previous x‐ray treatment appear to be important determinants of responsiveness to methotrexate, while degree of differentiation has not yet been shown to be an important factor for response to this drug. Attempts to improve the response rate and duration of the chemotherapeutic response by utilizing combinations of drugs, or use of drugs to sensitize the tumor to x‐ray treatment, or to reduce the bulk of tumor before x‐ray treatment, are reviewed; they have been only moderately encouraging. Intra‐arterial chemotherapy appears to have a therapeutic advantage over intravenous treatment; however, the morbidity associated with the former approach limits its usefulness for routine usage. The use of drugs as adjuncts following surgery and/or radiation therapy or immunotherapy are newer approaches that have not been investigated sufficiently, but are promising areas for investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-758
Number of pages7
Issue number2 S
StatePublished - Aug 1975

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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