Does induction chemotherapy have a role in the management of locoregionally advanced squamous cell head and neck cancer?
The use of systemic chemotherapy before definitive locoregional management, or induction chemotherapy, has been a theoretically attractive and well-studied approach in the management of squamous cell head and neck cancer. Although a decrease in distant metastases has frequently been observed, an improvement in survival from induction has been difficult to demonstrate. When chemotherapy and radiation are used concomitantly, however, an improvement in both survival and locoregional control can be identified, and this has led to the adoption of concurrent chemoradiotherapy as a standard of care for these patients. With this improvement in locoregional control, distant metastases have become a more frequently recognized cause of treatment failure, suggesting that an intervention, such as induction chemotherapy, directed at improving distant control might now be of some importance in improving overall treatment success. The recent development of taxane-containing, three-drug induction regim