Aista Plieskienė, Alvydas Česas
Squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx is a common case of head and neck cancer related to human papillomavirus. We present a case of moderately (G2) differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, which responded well to concurrent radiotherapy with cetuximab after intolerance of cisplatin. A 37-year-old woman referred to our hospital for a locally advanced cancer of the base of tongue. Physical examination revealed an ulcerative tumor with spread to the supraglottic structures, and swelling of the right side cervical lymph node at group IIA. The histological diagnosis from a biopsy specimen was moderately differentiated p16 positive squamous cell carcinoma. The patient underwent cisplatin-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy. Two – three weeks after receiving an intravenous cisplatin dose 100 mg/m 2 for the first day of chemorradiation, the patient presented with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. The cisplatin-based chemotherapy had changed to alternative agent. The patient continuously underwent concurrently radiation with cetuximab without the break of radical radiotherapy course. The patient experienced partial recovery of hearing after radical treatment of cancer. Complete clinical and radiological response of oropharyngeal squamous carcinoma was achieved.
Conclusions. Toxicity with only one standard dose of cisplatin can be profound also in young age. This risk should be addressed when counseling patient prior to initiation of treatment. In case of platinum ineligibility, replacing cisplatin with less toxic agent cetuximab may be taken into consideration for p16 positive carcinoma of the oropharynx.
Keyword(s): concurrent chemoradiotherapy, cisplatin, cetuximab, human papilloma virus, base of tongue, oropharyngeal carcinoma.