The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

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Comparative study of efficacy and toxicities of cisplatin vs vinorelbine as radiosensitisers in locally advanced head and neck cancer

S K Sarkara1 c1, N B Patraa1, J Goswamia1 and S Basua1

a1 Department of Radiotherapy, Medical College Hospital, Kolkata, India


Introduction: Currently, concomitant chemoradiation using cisplatin is one of the standards of care for the management of head and neck cancer, but at the cost of increased acute toxicity. Our aim was to assess whether vinorelbine was less toxic and of at least comparable efficacy, if not better, compared with cisplatin.

Materials and methods: A total of 72 patients with squamous cell carcinoma in the head and neck region were recruited, 40 in arm A and 32 in arm B. Patients in arm A received 40 mg/m2 cisplatin weekly. Patients in arm B received 6 mg/m2 vinorelbine weekly. Both arms also received 66 Gy of radiation in conventional fractionation.

Results and analysis: There was no statistically significant difference in response rate or toxicities between the two arms, except for nausea and/or vomiting, which was significantly less frequent in the vinorelbine arm.

Conclusion: Vinorelbine was as effective as cisplatin in controlling locoregional disease in locally advanced head and neck cancer, but was only marginally less toxic than cisplatin.

(Accepted January 12 2007)

(Online publication April 20 2007)


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr (Prof) Shyamal Kumar Sarkar, 80/1E Kankulia Road, Kolkata 700029, India. E-mail:


Dr S K Sarkar takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.

Competing interests: None declared