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Table 1 Current chemotherapeutic models in head and neck cancer

From: Curcumin: A review of anti-cancer properties and therapeutic activity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Agent Mechanism Mode of Usage in HNSCC Significant Adverse Effects Reference
Platinum agents
Formation of DNA adducts, induction of apoptosis and senescence Cisplatin/Carboplatin single-agent Cisplatin/Carboplatin in combination with 5-Flurouracil Nephrotoxicity (acute renal
failure, chronic renal insufficiency)
Ototoxicity (high-frequency hearing loss)
Neurotoxicity (peripheral neuropathy)
Hematologic (myelosupression)
Gastrointestinal (nausea, vomiting)
Electrolyte disturbances
5-Flurouracil Anti-metabolite (pyrimidine analog, inhibits thymidylate synthase) 5-Flurouracil in combination with Cisplatin/Carboplatin, and with or without Paclitaxel Cardiac toxicity (angina, myocardial ischemia), Gastrointestinal (nausea, omiting, ulcers), Hematologic (myelosupression), Thrombophlebitis, Dermatologic (rash) [810]
Anti-microtubular agent
(inhibitor of mitosis)
Paclitaxel in combination with Carboplatin/Cisplatin, and with or without 5-Fluoruracil Cardiovascular (hypotension, EKG changes) Gastrointestinal (mucositis, nausea, vomiting) Hematologic (neutropenia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), Neuromuscular (peripheral neuropathy, myalgias), Hepatic (elevated liver enzymes) [9, 10]
Cetuximab Anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody Cetuximab plus radiation therapy Single-agent cetuximab in platinum refractory HNSCC Phase I/II trial of cetuximab plus 5-FU and platinum agents (on going) Infusion reaction Dermatologic (acneform rash, pruritis)
Gastrointestinal (abdominal pain, constipation,
diarrhea, nausea, vomiting), Respiratory
(dyspnea, cough), Neuromuscular weakness
[1417, 202]