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Basel, Switzerland

Bontognali S.,Kopf Hals Tumor Zentrum | Pless M.,Kopf Hals Tumor Zentrum | Brutsche M.H.,Kopf Hals Tumor Zentrum | Fischer C.,Kopf Hals Tumor Zentrum | And 3 more authors.
Onkologie | Year: 2013

Background: The efficacy of chemotherapy in metastatic and recurrent squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC) remains unsatisfactory. Gefitinib offers a new therapeutic option with comparable results and better tolerability than chemotherapy. We conducted this study to see if mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) might predict the therapeutic benefit in HNSCC patients. Patients and Methods: In a pilot trial, 8 patients with metastatic or recurrent HNSCC were treated palliatively with gefitinib (500 mg/day orally). Forceps biopsies were taken to confirm tumor recurrence and to perform an EGFR mutation analysis. Results: The EGFR status could be determined in 6 of the 8 patients. 5 patients had no EGFR gene mutation, and 1 patient showed a silent guanine-to-adenosine mutation in position 2607. Even without any relevant mutation in the EGFR, we observed partial remission in 3 of 6 patients treated with gefitinib. We also observed that an additional 4 patients had stable disease for at least 10 weeks. The median progression-free survival was 6.25 months, and the median overall survival was 7.39 months. Conclusion: In HNSCC, there are tumor responses to gefitinib without protein-altering mutations in the EGFR gene. Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel. Source

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