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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pilot study of neoadjuvant treatment with erlotinib in nonmetastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

PURPOSE: To determine the safety and efficacy of erlotinib given as neoadjuvant treatment in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Further objectives were to identify markers of response to erlotinib and to assess the pharmacodynamic effects of erlotinib in tumor cells. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients with locally advanced nonmetastatic HNSCC were treated with erlotinib 150 mg daily pending surgical management. Tumor samples were collected before and after erlotinib treatment and were analyzed using immunohistochemistry. Epidermal growth factor receptor copy number was determined in tumors using CISH analysis. RESULTS: Between November 2003 and December 2005, 35 patients were included in the study. Neoadjuvant treatment with erlotinib in HNSCC patients was well tolerated and did not necessitate modification to routine surgical procedures. Among 31 evaluable patients, erlotinib was given for a median of 20 days. At the time of surgery, tumor shrinkage was observed in nine patients (29%). Immunohistochemistry analyses were done for 31 patients and showed a decrease in phosphorylated tyrosine residues and phosphorylated erk immunostaining after erlotinib treatment. In a retrospective analysis, baseline p21(waf) expression in the basal-like cell layer was statistically positively correlated with clinical response to treatment. Epidermal growth factor receptor copy number did not correlate with response to erlotinib. CONCLUSION: Neoadjuvant treatment of HNSCC with erlotinib was well tolerated. Baseline p21(waf) expression was associated with response to erlotinib and so might be useful as a tool to select patients for erlotinib therapy in this setting.[1]


  1. Pilot study of neoadjuvant treatment with erlotinib in nonmetastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Thomas, F., Rochaix, P., Benlyazid, A., Sarini, J., Rives, M., Lefebvre, J.L., Allal, B.C., Courbon, F., Chatelut, E., Delord, J.P. Clin. Cancer Res. (2007) [Pubmed]
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