Concurrent chemoradiotherapy is an established component of the nonoperative management of locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), but the standard dose of 100 mg/m2 cisplatin every 3 weeks is associated with clinically significant toxicity.
Interest in a more tolerable regimen has led to the widespread use of weekly lower dose cisplatin, but few randomized trials have compared these approaches.
We examined outcomes of patients with stage III–IVb HNSCC treated with definitive intent chemoradiotherapy using either high-dose cisplatin (HDC) or low-dose cisplatin (LDC), using population-based Veterans Affairs data.
In an intent-to-treat analysis, patients were assigned to the HDC vs LDC group according to the dose of their first cycle.
Variables potentially influencing treatment decisions including cancer site, stage, smoking/alcohol use, and comorbidities were used to generate propensity scores (PS) for the use of HDC.
We compared overall survival (OS) by treatment group using Cox regression, adjusting for PS. We then determined the risk of toxicities using PS-adjusted logistic regression.