Front Oncol. 2023 Aug 1;13:1226939. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2023.1226939. eCollection 2023.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to confirm the efficacy of the ERBITAX scheme (paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 weekly and cetuximab 400 mg/m2 loading dose, and then 250 mg/m2 weekly) as first-line treatment for patients with recurrent/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) who are medically unfit for cisplatin-based (PT) chemotherapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective, non-interventional study involved 16 centers in Spain. Inclusion criteria were to have started receiving ERBITAX regimen from January 2012 to December 2018; histologically confirmed SCCHN including oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx; age ≥18 years; and platinum (PT) chemotherapy ineligibility due to performance status, comorbidities, high accumulated dose of PT, or PT refractoriness.
RESULTS: A total of 531 patients from 16 hospitals in Spain were enrolled. The median age was 66 years, 82.7% were male, and 83.5% were current/former smokers. Patients were ineligible to receive PT due to ECOG 2 (50.3%), comorbidities (32%), PT cumulative dose ≥ 225 mg/m2 (10.5%), or PT refractoriness (7.2%). Response rate was 37.7%. Median duration of response was 5.6 months (95% CI: 4.4-6.6). With a median follow-up of 8.7 months (95% CI: 7.7-10.2), median PFS and OS were 4.5 months (95% CI: 3.9-5.0) and 8.9 months (95% CI: 7.8-10.3), respectively. Patients treated with immunotherapy after ERBITAX had better OS with a median of 29.8 months compared to 13.8 months for those who received other treatments. The most common grade ≥ 3 toxicities were acne-like rash in 36 patients (6.8%) and oral mucositis in 8 patients (1.5%). Five (0.9%) patients experienced grade ≥ 3 febrile neutropenia.
CONCLUSION: This study confirms the real-world efficacy and tolerability of ERBITAX as first-line treatment in recurrent/metastatic SCCHN when PT is not feasible. Immunotherapy after treatment with ERBITAX showed remarkable promising survival, despite potential selection bias.