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1.  A Phase II Study of Erlotinib and Bevacizumab in Patients with Recurrent or Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck 
The lancet oncology  2009;10(3):247-257.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a validated target in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck but in patients with recurrent or metastatic disease, EGFR targeting agents have displayed modest efficacy. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mediated angiogenesis has been implicated as a mechanism of resistance to anti-EGFR therapy. This study combined an EGFR inhibitor, erlotinib, with an anti-VEGF antibody, bevacizumab.
This multi-institutional phase I/II study enrolled patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck to receive erlotinib (150 mg daily) and bevacizumab in escalating dose cohorts. The primary objectives in the phase I and II portions, respectively, were to determine the maximum tolerated dose and dose-limiting toxicity of bevacizumab when administered with erlotinib and to determine the objective response rate and time to disease progression. Pre-treatment serum and tissues were collected and analyzed by Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay and immunofluorescence quantitative laser analysis, respectively. This study was registered with, number NCT00055913.
The phase I portion enrolled 10 subjects in three successive cohorts without dose-limiting toxicity observed. An additional 46 subjects were enrolled at the phase II dose (bevacizumab 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks). The most common toxicities of any grade were rash and diarrhea (41 and 16 of 48 subjects, respectively). Three patients experienced serious bleeding events. The observed response rate was 15% with 4 complete responses (CR) allowing rejection of the null hypothesis. The median overall and progression-free survival (PFS) durations were 7.1 (95% Confidence Interval: 5.7 to 9.0) and 4.1 (95% Confidence Interval: 2.8 to 4.4) months, respectively. Higher ratios of phosphorylated over total VEGF receptor-2 and EGFR in pre-treatment biopsies were associated with CR (0.7043 vs. 0.3857, p=0.036 and 0.949 vs. 0.332, p=0.036, respectively) and tumor shrinkage (p=0.007 and p=0.008, respectively) in a subset of 11 subjects with available tissue.
The combination of erlotinib and bevacizumab is well tolerated in recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Some patients appear to derive a sustained benefit and complete responses were associated with expression of putative targets in pre-treatment tumor tissue.
PMCID: PMC2768532  PMID: 19201650
2.  Rationale and design of LUX-Head & Neck 1: a randomised, Phase III trial of afatinib versus methotrexate in patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma who progressed after platinum-based therapy 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:473.
Patients with recurrent and/or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) receiving platinum-based chemotherapy as their first-line treatment have a dismal prognosis, with a median overall survival (OS) of ~7 months. Methotrexate is sometimes used following platinum failure or in patients not fit enough for platinum therapy, but this agent has not demonstrated any OS improvement. Targeted therapies are a novel approach, with the EGFR-targeting monoclonal antibody cetuximab (plus platinum-based chemotherapy) approved in the US and Europe in the first-line R/M setting, and as monotherapy following platinum failure in the US. However, there is still a high unmet medical need for new treatments that improve outcomes in the second-line R/M setting following failure on first-line platinum-containing regimens. Afatinib, an irreversible ErbB family blocker, was recently approved for the first-line treatment of EGFR mutation-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Afatinib has also shown clinical activity similar to cetuximab in a Phase II proof-of-concept HNSCC trial. Based on these observations, the Phase III, LUX-Head & Neck 1 study is evaluating afatinib versus methotrexate in R/M HNSCC patients following progression on platinum-based chemotherapy in the R/M setting.
Patients with progressive disease after one first-line platinum-based chemotherapy are randomised 2:1 to oral afatinib (starting dose 40 mg once daily) or IV methotrexate (starting dose 40 mg/m2 once weekly) administered as monotherapy with best supportive care until progression or intolerable adverse events. Efficacy of afatinib versus methotrexate will be assessed in terms of progression-free survival (primary endpoint). Disease progression will be evaluated according to RECIST v1.1 by investigator and independent central review. Secondary endpoints include OS, tumour response and safety. Health-related quality of life and biomarker assessments will also be performed.
If the LUX-Head & Neck 1 trial meets its primary endpoint, it will demonstrate the ability of afatinib to elicit an improved treatment benefit versus a commonly used chemotherapy agent in the second-line treatment of R/M HNSCC patients who have failed on first-line platinum-based therapy, confirm the clinical efficacy of afatinib observed in the Phase II proof-of-concept study, and establish a new standard of care for this patient population.
PMCID: PMC4079914  PMID: 24973959
Afatinib; Methotrexate; Head and neck; Phase III; Recurrent; Metastatic
3.  Adjuvant chemoradiotherapy for locoregionally advanced and high-risk salivary gland malignancies 
Head & Neck Oncology  2011;3:31.
To report the outcomes of patients with locoregionally advanced and high- risk salivary gland malignancies treated with surgery followed by adjuvant chemoradiotherapy.
From 09/1991 - 06/2007, 24 high-risk salivary gland cancer patients were treated with surgery, followed by adjuvant chemoradiotherapy for high-risk pathologic features including, perineural involvement, nodal involvement, positive margins, or T3/T4 tumors. Chemoradiotherapy was delivered for 4-6 alternating week cycles: the most common regimen, TFHX, consisted of 5 days paclitaxel (100 mg/m2 on d1), infusional 5-fluorouracil (600 mg/m2/d × 5d), hydroxyurea (500 mg PO BID), and 1.5 Gy twice daily irradiation followed by a 9-day break without treatment.
Median follow-up was 42 months. The parotid gland was more frequently involved (n = 17) than minor (n = 4) or submandibular (n = 3) glands. The median radiation dose was 65 Gy (range 55-68 Gy). Acute treatment related toxicity included 46% grade 3 mucositis and 33% grade 3 hematologic toxicity. Six patients required feeding tubes during treatment. One patient progressed locally, 8 patients progressed distantly, and none progressed regionally. Five-year locoregional progression free survival was 96%. The 3 and 5 year overall survival was 79% and 59%, respectively. Long-term complications included persistent xerostomia (n = 5), esophageal stricture requiring dilatation (n = 1), and tempromandibular joint syndrome (n = 1).
Surgical resection followed by adjuvant chemoradiotherapy results in promising locoregional control for high-risk salivary malignancy patients.
PMCID: PMC3189162  PMID: 21791072
4.  Thyroid Cancer: Burden of Illness and Management of Disease 
Journal of Cancer  2011;2:193-199.
Objective: The incidence of thyroid cancer, the most common endocrine malignancy, has increased dramatically in the last fifty years. This article will review the standard approach to thyroid cancer treatment as well as novel therapies under investigation. We will also address potential cost considerations in the management of thyroid cancer.
Study Design: A comprehensive literature search was performed.
Methods: Review article.
Results: The high prevalence of thyroid cancer and the availability of novel therapies for patients with metastatic disease have potential economic implications that have not been well-studied. Because many patients likely have very low morbidity from their cancers, better tools to identify the lowest risk patients are needed in order to prevent overtreatment. Improved risk stratification should include recognizing patients who are unlikely to benefit from radioactive iodine therapy after initial surgery and identifying those with indolent and asymptomatic metastatic disease that are unlikely to benefit from novel therapies. In patients with advanced incurable disease, randomized-controlled studies to assess the efficacy of novel agents are needed to determine if the costs associated with new agents are warranted.
Conclusions: Health care costs associated with the increased diagnosis of thyroid cancer remain unknown but are worthy of further research.
PMCID: PMC3079916  PMID: 21509149
differentiated thyroid cancer; radioactive iodine; targeted therapy; clinical trials; pharmacoeconomics
5.  Fluorescence in situ hybridization gene amplification analysis of EGFR and HER2 in patients with malignant salivary gland tumors treated with lapatinib 
Head & neck  2009;31(8):1006-1012.
Gene amplification status of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) were analyzed and correlated with clinical outcome in patients with progressive malignant salivary glands tumors (MSGT) treated with the dual EGFR/Her2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis for both EGFR and HER2 gene amplification was performed successfully in the archival tumor specimens of 20 patients with adenoid cystic carcinomas (ACC) and 17 patients with non-ACC, all treated with lapatinib.
For ACC, no EGFR or HER2 amplifications were detected. For non-ACC, no EGFR gene amplifications were detected but 3 patients (18%) were HER2 amplified and all had stained 3+ for both EGFR and HER2 by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in their archival specimens. Two of these patients had time-to-progression (TTP) durations of 8.3 months and 18.4 months respectively. Interestingly, patients with low and high HER2/chromosome-specific centromeric enumeration probe (CEP) 17 ratio had a prolonged TTP than those with moderate ratios for both ACC and non-ACC subtypes.
HER2 to CEP17 FISH ratio may predict which patients with MSGT have an increased likelihood to benefit from lapatinib. The finding of HER2:CEP17 ratio as a predictive marker of efficacy to lapatinib warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2711990  PMID: 19309723
MSGT; lapatinib; EGFR and HER2 gene amplification; FISH

Results 1-5 (5)