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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
(Cisplatin/Carboplatin)
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
(hypomagnesiumia/hypokalemia/
hypocalcemia)
[812]
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]
Taxanes
(Paclitaxel/Docetaxel)
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]