Objective: Although nivolumab treatment is effective in extending the overall survival (OS) in patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (R/M HNSCC), only a few patients benefit from this treatment. Recent studies have reported that chemotherapy and cetuximab might be effective for R/M HNSCC after nivolumab treatment. In the present study, we aimed to elucidate the effectiveness of chemotherapy after nivolumab treatment in patients with R/M HNSCC. Methods: This retrospective study included 10 patients with R/M HNSCC who were mainly treated with paclitaxel plus cetuximab (7/10, 70%) or S-1 (3/10, 30%) following nivolumab treatment. Chemotherapy was administered as a second-line or higher palliative treatment. The performance status of all patients ranged from 0 to 2. The progression-free survival (PFS) was analyzed using the Kaplan–Meier method. Results: The response rate (RR), clinical benefit rate, and median PFS were 60%, 90%, and 5.4 months, respectively. Regarding adverse effects, Grade 3 neutropenia and hypomagnesemia due to salvage chemotherapy administered after immunotherapy were observed in one patient. The treatment significantly increased the RR compared to that achieved with other palliative chemotherapies reported so far. Conclusion: A higher RR and clinical benefit rate were observed for our strategy than for any first-line regimen, suggesting that our strategy might improve the PFS. Palliative chemotherapy with/without cetuximab after nivolumab treatment might be useful in patients with R/M HNSCC. Although the results of this retrospective study are limited, this strategy can be a good treatment option for patients with R/M HNSCC because of its strong clinical benefits and acceptable toxicity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes