Induction chemotherapy in locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Susumu Okano, Akihiro Homma, Naomi Kiyota, Makoto Tahara, Nobuhiro Hanai, Takahiro Asakage, Kazuto Matsuura, Takenori Ogawa, Yuki Saito, Daisuke Sano, Takeshi Kodaira, Atsushi Motegi, Koichi Yasuda, Shunji Takahashi, Kaoru Tanaka, Takuma Onoe, Tomoya Yokota, Yoshinori Imamura, Yosuke Ariizumi, Tetsuo AkimotoRyuichi Hayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In order to maximize the benefit of induction chemotherapy, practice based on a comprehensive interpretation of a large number of clinical trials, as in this review, is essential. The standard treatment for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is surgery or chemoradiation. However, induction chemotherapy followed by (chemo) radiotherapy may be used in some circumstances. Although many clinical trials of induction chemotherapy have been conducted, a rationale other than to preserve the larynx is still controversial. Selection of this modality should therefore be made with care. The current standard regimen for induction chemotherapy is docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-FU, but concerns remain about toxicity, cost and the duration of treatment. Regarding treatment after induction chemotherapy, it is also unclear whether radiation alone or chemoradiation is the better option. Furthermore, there is no answer as to what drugs should be used in combination with radiation therapy after induction chemotherapy. Several new induction chemotherapy treatment developments are currently underway, and future developments are expected. This review article summarizes the current position of induction chemotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, based on the evidence produced to date, and discusses the future prospects for this treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-179
Number of pages7
JournalJapanese journal of clinical oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 1


  • chemotherapy
  • head and neck
  • induction
  • organ preservation
  • squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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