Know Cancer

forgot password

Post-operative Concurrent Chemo-radiotherapy Versus Post-operative Radiotherapy in High-risk Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Phase 3
18 Years
Open (Enrolling)
Skin Cancer

Thank you

Trial Information

Post-operative Concurrent Chemo-radiotherapy Versus Post-operative Radiotherapy in High-risk Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Two in every 3 Australians will be affected by skin cancer over their lifetime. The
prevalence of skin cancer will continue to increase due to the ageing population and
represents a significant problem in our community. Cure of early (T1-2) de novo cutaneous
squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) treated with either curative intent surgery or radiotherapy
is 85-100%. However, the cure rate for locally advanced, recurrent, or metastatic disease to
regional nodes following surgery alone are much lower, in the order of 20-70%. Metastatic
CSCC is the most common malignancy of the parotid region in Australia. The 5 year
loco-regional control with surgery alone is in the order of 40%-45%. The addition of
post-operative radiotherapy improves loco-regional control by 15-20%, and is therefore
considered the standard of care in this group of patients.

Recent data have shown that synchronous post-operative chemo-radiotherapy is superior to
post-operative radiotherapy alone in "high-risk" mucosal head and neck squamous cell
carcinoma (HNSCC). However, to date, there is no evidence from randomised trials that such a
benefit exists in CSCC of the head and neck. At present there is little consensus amongst
clinicians in Australia as to who should receive post-operative chemo-radiotherapy in CSCC.
Although tumour control rates may be improved, the addition of chemotherapy may also
significantly increase treatment related toxicity. Nonetheless, some centres have adopted
the use of post-operative chemo-radiotherapy in selected patients with CSCC based on
extrapolation from mucosal sites. This has resulted in a wide variability in practice for
this disease.

Australia is uniquely placed to perform such a trial comparing post-operative
chemo-radiotherapy to post-operative radiotherapy alone in high-risk CSCC due to the high
rate of skin cancer. Currently there are limited data to guide management of patients with
resected CSCC who are at high risk for recurrence. While it is reasonable to hypothesize
that concurrent chemotherapy in this setting will confer a similar benefit to that seen in
mucosal HNSCC, this can only be established by a randomized trial as proposed. If the
addition of chemotherapy is shown to be beneficial and safe, then these results are likely
to be translated into standard practice both nationally and internationally quite rapidly.
On the other hand, if the treatment is found to be ineffective then patients will be spared
the unnecessary toxicity and inconvenience associated with the addition of chemotherapy. A
further important aspect of this trial will be the assessment of patient-related outcomes
using a validated quality of life questionnaire. It will be important to ascertain whether
any improvement in locoregional control due to the addition of chemotherapy, is also
associated with improvement in quality of life compared to the control arm.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Histologically proven SCC

- Patients have undergone either:

- Resection of the primary lesion

- Any type of parotidectomy (superficial, total, partial, etc.)

- Any type of neck dissection(s)

- High risk feature(s); Advanced primary disease or high risk nodal disease

High Risk Nodal Disease

- Intra-parotid nodal disease (any number or size, with/without extracapsular
extension, with/without an identifiable index lesion)

- Cervical nodal disease with a synchronous index lesion or previously resected
cutaneous primary tumour (<5 years) within the corresponding nodal drainage and a
mucosal primary has been excluded with at least a CT +/- MRI and panendoscopy* *For
cervical nodal disease to be eligible there must be at least one of the following

- > 2 nodes

- largest node > 3 cm

- Extracapsular extension

Advanced Primary Disease (TNM 6th Edition 2002) (Appendix 1)

- T3-4 primary disease (cartilage, skeletal, muscle, bone involvement, > 4 cm) of the
head and neck including lip, nose and external auditory canal with or without nodal

- In transit metastases (metastases between the primary site and the adjoining nodal

- Age > 18 years

- Written informed consent

- ECOG <= 2

- Absolute neutrophil count > 1.5 X 10^9/L, platelet count > 100 X 10^9/L, and
haemoglobin > 10 g/dL (pre-radiotherapy blood transfusion to elevate the
haemoglobin > 10 g/dL is permissible)

- Calculated creatinine clearance (Cockcroft-Gault) >= 40 mL/min

- Available for follow-up for up to 5 years

- Life expectancy greater than 6 months

Exclusion Criteria:

- Intercurrent illness that will interfere with either the chemotherapy or radiotherapy
such as immunosuppression due to medication or medical condition

- Metastasis(es) below the clavicles

- Previous radical radiotherapy to the head and neck, excluding treatment of an early
glottic cancer greater than or equal to 2 years ago and superficial radiotherapy to
cutaneous SCC or Basal cell carcinoma

- High risk for poor compliance with therapy or follow-up as assessed by investigator

- Pregnant or lactating women

- Patients with prior cancers, except: those diagnosed > 5 years ago with no evidence
of disease recurrence and clinical expectation of recurrence of less than 5%; or
successfully treated Level 1 cutaneous melanomas or early glottic cancer > 2 years
ago; or non-melanoma skin cancer; or carcinoma in situ of the cervix.

- Low risk cervical nodal disease* without advanced primary disease

*Low risk cervical nodal disease is defined as the presence of all of the following

- single nodal metastasis

- greater then or equal to 3cm,

- no extracapsular extension

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Outcome Measure:

Loco-regional Control

Outcome Time Frame:

The date of primary outcome analysis will occur when the final patient has reached a minimum 2 years follow-up.

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Sandro Porceddu

Investigator Role:

Study Chair

Investigator Affiliation:

Princess Alexandra Hospital


Australia: Department of Health and Ageing Therapeutic Goods Administration

Study ID:

TROG 05.01



Start Date:

April 2005

Completion Date:

December 2013

Related Keywords:

  • Skin Cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy
  • surgery
  • Skin Neoplasms
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms



Duke University Medical Center Durham, North Carolina  27710
University of Florida Shands Cancer Centre Gainesville, Florida  32610