The ability of surgery and radiotherapy to control advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck has reached its maximal potential. We initiated a randomized, prospective, stratified study of adjuvant chemotherapy. Patients with stage II disease of the pyriform sinus and stage III and IV disease of the oral cavity, larynx, hypopharynx, oropharynx, nasopharynx, and paranasal sinuses were eligible. Patients were randomized to receive either standard therapy alone or two courses of 5-fluorouracil (B-CMF) chemotherapy prior to and two courses after the completion of standard therapy. Standard therapy consisted of preoperative irradiation followed by radical surgery. Of 133 patients with advanced disease, 83 were included in the study - 43 in the chemotherapy group and 40 in the control group. Rates of residual and recurrent disease, as well as distant metastases, were similar for the two groups. The survival rates of patients without persistent disease at the end of treatment showed no significant difference for the two groups. The study has been discontinued because statistical analysis indicated that the addition of more patients would no materially increase the statistical significance of the study.
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