Randomized Phase II/III Trial of Surgery and Postoperative Radiation Delivered With Concurrent Cisplatin Versus Docetaxel Versus Docetaxel and Cetuximab for High-Risk Squamous Cell Cancer of the Head and Neck

This randomized phase II/III trial studies how well radiation therapy works when given together with cisplatin compared to docetaxel or cetuximab and docetaxel after surgery in treating patients with stage III-IV squamous cell head and neck cancer. Specialized radiation therapy that delivers a high dose of radiation directly to the tumor may kill more tumor cells and cause less damage to normal tissue. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as cisplatin and docetaxel, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Monoclonal antibodies, such as cetuximab, can block tumor growth in different ways. Some block the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Others find tumor cells and help kill them or transmit tumor killing molecules to them. It is not yet known whether radiation therapy is more effective when given with cisplatin, docetaxel, or cetuximab and docetaxel.

Stanford is now accepting new patients for this trial. Please contact Polly Young at 650-497-7499 for more information.



  • biological : cetuximab
  • drug : cisplatin
  • drug : docetaxel
  • other : laboratory biomarker analysis
  • procedure : quality-of-life assessment
  • radiation : intensity-modulated radiation therapy

Phase: Phase 2/Phase 3


Ages Eligible For Study:

18 Years - N/A

Inclusion Criteria

- Pathologically (histologically or cytologically) proven diagnosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) involving the oral cavity (excluding lips), oropharynx (p16 negative), larynx, or hypopharynx within 63 days of registration - Patients must have undergone gross total surgical resection of high-risk oral cavity, oropharynx (p16 negative), larynx, or hypopharynx within 63 days prior to registration - Patients must have at least 1 of the following high-risk pathologic features: extracapsular nodal extension or invasive cancer at the primary tumor resection margin (tumor or ink) - Pathologic stage III or IV head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), including no distant metastases, based upon the following minimum diagnostic workup: - General history and physical examination by a radiation oncologist and/or medical oncologist within 84 days prior to registration; - Examination by an ear nose throat (ENT) or head & neck surgeon prior to surgery; a laryngopharyngoscopy (mirror and/or fiber optic and/or direct procedure), if appropriate is recommended but not required. Intra-operative examination is acceptable documentation. - Pre-op Imaging: Either a computed tomography (CT) (with contrast) or CT/positron emission tomography (PET) (with contrast) and/or an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (T1 with gadolinium and T2) of the neck within 84 days prior to surgery; note: this imaging data (diagnostic pre-operative scan showing gross disease) is to be submitted in Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format via TRIAD; the report is to be uploaded into Rave - Chest CT scan (with or without contrast) or CT/PET that includes the chest (with or without contrast) either within 84 days prior to surgery or within 120 days prior to registration; NOTE: If the CT/PET with or without contrast is done within 84 days prior to surgery, if fulfills the chest imaging requirement. - Zubrod performance status of 0-1 within 14 days prior to registration - Absolute granulocyte count (AGC) >= 1,500 cells/mm^3 - Platelets >= 100,000 cells/mm^3 - Hemoglobin >= 8.0 g/dl (Note: The use of transfusion or other intervention to achieve hemoglobin [Hgb] >= 8.0 g/dl is acceptable) - Total bilirubin < 2 x institutional upper limit of normal (ULN) within 14 days prior to registration - Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or alanine aminotransferase (ALT) < 3 x institutional ULN within 14 days prior to registration - Serum creatinine institutional ULN within 14 days prior to registration or; creatinine clearance (CC) >= 50 ml/min within 14 days prior to registration determined by 24-hour collection or estimated by Cockcroft-Gault formula - Negative serum or urine pregnancy test within 14 days prior to registration for women of childbearing potential - The following assessments are required within 14 days prior to registration: sodium (Na), potassium (K), chloride (Cl), glucose, calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and albumin; Note: Patients with an initial magnesium < 0.5 mmol/L (1.2 mg/dl) may receive corrective magnesium supplementation but should continue to receive either prophylactic weekly infusion of magnesium and/or oral magnesium supplementation (eg, magnesium oxide) at the investigator's discretion - Patients with feeding tubes are eligible for the study - Women of childbearing potential and male participants who are sexually active must agree to use a medically effective means of birth control - Patient must provide study specific informed consent prior to study entry, including consent for mandatory tissue submission for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) analysis and for oropharyngeal cancer patients, human papilloma virus (HPV) analysis

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Contact information

Primary Contact:

Polly Young 650-497-7499

Stanford University School of Medicine 300 Pasteur Drive Stanford, CA 94305

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