A pilot study of cisplatin‐vinblastine as the initial treatment of advanced head and neck cancer
Twenty patients with Stage IV and five patients with Stage III carcinoma of the head and neck were treated with the combination of cisplatin and vinblastine before locoregional therapy. Among 24 patients evaluable for response after chemotherapy, there were four complete responders and 16 partial responders for an overall major response rate of 83%. No complete responses were observed in patients with T4 primary lesions or N3a nodal disease. Toxicity was limited primarily to nausea and vomiting (76%) and myelosuppression (72%). Four patients, all treated at the higher vinblastine dose, required hospitalization for fever associated with neutropenia. Two patients had a transient increase in the serum creatinine clearance to greater than 3 mg/dl. The combination of high-dose cisplatin and frequent vinblastine has significant activity in locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, has mild and reversible toxicity, and does not require prolonged hospitalizations for continuous intravenous infusions.