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Adjuvant intraoperative photodynamic therapy in head and neck cancer.

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2013 Jul;139(7):706-11

Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA.

Importance: There is an immediate need to develop local intraoperative adjuvant treatment strategies to improve outcomes in patients with cancer who undergo head and neck surgery.

Objectives: To determine the safety of photodynamic therapy with 2-(1-hexyloxyethyl)-2-devinyl pyropheophorbide-a (HPPH) in combination with surgery in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Nonrandomized, single-arm, single-site, phase 1 study at a comprehensive cancer center among 16 adult patients (median age, 65 years) with biopsy-proved primary or recurrent resectable head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Interventions: Intravenous injection of HPPH (4.0 mg/m2), followed by activation with 665-nm laser light in the surgical bed immediately after tumor resection.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Adverse events and highest laser light dose.

Results: Fifteen patients received the full course of treatment, and 1 patient received HPPH without intraoperative laser light because of an unrelated myocardial infarction. Disease sites included larynx (7 patients), oral cavity (6 patients), skin (1 patient), ear canal (1 patient), and oropharynx (1 patient, who received HPPH only). The most frequent adverse events related to photodynamic therapy were mild to moderate edema (9 patients) and pain (3 patients). One patient developed a grade 3 fistula after salvage laryngectomy, and another patient developed a grade 3 wound infection and mandibular fracture. Phototoxicity reactions included 1 moderate photophobia and 2 mild to moderate skin burns (2 due to operating room spotlights and 1 due to the pulse oximeter). The highest laser light dose was 75 J/cm2.

Conclusions And Relevance: The adjuvant use of HPPH-photodynamic therapy and surgery for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma seems safe and deserves further study.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00470496.

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July 2013
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