Chemotherapy for head and neck cancer. Comparison of cisplatin + vinblastine + bleomycin versus methotrexate

Stephen D. Williams, Enrique Velez‐Garcia, Issac Essessee, Gary Ratkin, Robert Birch, Lawrence H. Einhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


One hundred ninety‐one patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck origin were allocated at random to chemotherapy with conventional‐dose weekly intravenous methotrexate or the combination of cisplatin, vinblastine, and bleomycin. Methotrexate induced responses in 16 of 98 patients (16%), whereas 22 of 92 (24%) responded to the combination regimen (P = not significant). Remission duration (20.2 weeks methotrexate; 15.1 weeks combination) was similar on both arms, as was survival (31.4 weeks methotrexate; 29.0 weeks combination). Therapy was relatively well‐tolerated on both treatment arms, although methotrexate produced more mucositis and the combination more gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. Response to chemotherapy and disease confined to the locoregional area were associated with somewhat longer survival. Combination chemotherapy as given in this study did not improve any observed parameter, and the results of treatment were poor in both arms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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