Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Treatment Patterns for Canadian Patients With Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019

According to a real-world study of treatment patterns in Canada for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck published in Current Oncology, a high use of platinum-based regimens as a first-line treatment was generally reflective of treatment guidelines. In second-line treatment, cetuximab-based regimens were use more frequently and more often than anticipated, observed A. Abbas Tahami Monfared, MD, PhD, of McGill University, Montreal, and colleagues.

“The increasing availability of novel therapies with better adverse event profiles could potentially change the Canadian treatment algorithm for [squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck],” the authors concluded. “A new therapy class—immune checkpoint inhibitors—has shown promising [overall survival] results as monotherapy, with tolerable toxicities and improvements in health-related quality of life in patients with [recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck].”

Oncologists in Canada provided data for disease history, characteristics, and treatment patterns for patients receiving first-line or second-treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Of the 109 patients included in the study, 24% were current smokers, with a mean exposure of 26.2 ± 12.7 pack-years and a median age of 63 years.

The authors found that the most common tumor site was the oropharynx (48%). Also 84% of patients received platinum-based regiments as first-line treatment, with 44% receiving cisplatin monotherapy. A limited use of cetuximab-based regimens for first-line treatment (17%) was observed. Of the 53 patients receiving second-line treatment, 87% received a first-line platinum-based regimen.

The median time between first-line treatment with a platinum-based regimen and second-line treatment was 55 days, with cetuximab monotherapy as the most common second-line regimen (43%). The authors observed that platinum-based regiments were markedly used infrequently (13%).

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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