Triple Treatment

Low-Dose Sorafenib May Improve Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer

Pawan KumarAdding low doses of the targeted agent sorafenib to the chemotherapy and radiation now often used to treat head and neck cancer might significantly improve patient care and quality of life, a preclinical study at the OSUCCC – James suggests.

The findings indicate that adding sorafenib would maintain treatment efficacy while permitting lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation, thus decreasing harsh side effects. The triple combination was well-tolerated in an animal model.

About 49,200 new cases of head and neck cancer are expected in the United States this year, and 11,500 people are expected to die from it. Treatment is often unsuccessful because the tumors become resistant to both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

“This preclinical study suggests that using low-dose sorafenib plus chemotherapy and radiation could have significantly milder side effects while maintaining effectiveness,” says principal investigator Pawan Kumar, PhD. “Our findings provide a scientific rationale to evaluate this combination strategy through a clinical trial.”

“Our results suggest a potentially novel strategy in which sorafenib combined with low doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both is as effective in treating head and neck cancer as much higher doses used in existing treatment,” says study co-author Theodoros Teknos, MD, who directs the Division of Head and Neck Surgery at Ohio State.

Published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

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