Preoperative treatment of advanced skin carcinoma with cisplatin and bleomycin

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51 Citations (Scopus)


In advanced skin carcinomas of the head and neck region, the tumor may be unresectable or curative resection or radiation may either fail or produce poor functional and cosmetic results. The goal of this study was to test the ability of preoperative chemotherapy to decrease the extent of needed resection and tumor response. Five patients, three with squamous cell carcinoma and two with basal cell carcinoma, were treated before surgery with three cycles of cisplatin 20 mg/m2 daily for 4 days and bleomycin 20 mg/day for 4 days by continuous infusion every 3 weeks. All patients had advanced cancer in the head and neck region, one had unresectable tumor, two had xeroderma pigmentosum, and one was a 13-year-old child. The history of prior treatments was as follows: radiation therapy (n = 3), systemic chemotherapy (n = 1), surgery (n = 1), and no treatment (n = 1). One patient had complete clinical but not pathologic response, three had partial response, and one had progressive disease. The extent of resection after chemotherapy was dramatically reduced in the patient with a complete response and minimally changed in the patients with partials responses and progressive disease. All patients who underwent surgery became tumor free. Preventable toxicity was symptomatic hypomagnesemia in one patient, reversible elevation of creatinine in one patient, and mild nausea and vomiting in three patients. With this report, the total number of patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer who were treated with cisplatin is 68, and their overall response is 80%. Only 16 reported patients were treated with preoperative chemotherapy, and study of this treatment approach to advanced skin cancer should be pursued.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-34
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bleomycin
  • Cisplatin
  • Nonmelanomatous skin cancer
  • Preoperative chemotherapy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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