Other Treatments



new and experimental treatments


Prepared by Library Advisor:

Tammy L Wigginton, M.S.,CCC/SLP





- Adjuvant therapy: refers to additional treatment, usually given after surgery where all detectable disease has been removed, but where there remains a statistical risk of relapse due to occult disease. If known disease is left behind following surgery, then further treatment is not technically "adjuvant".

- Cure: most commonly refers to a completely effective treatment for a disease.

- Neoadjuvant therapy is given before the main treatment. For example, chemotherapy that is given before removal of a larynx is considered neoadjuvant therapy. The most common reason for neoadjuvant therapy is to reduce the size of the tumor so as to facilitate more effective surgery.therapeutic.

- Palliative treatment: is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symtpoms, rather than providing a cure. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness.


The use of chemical agents to destroy cancerous cells and tissue. www.chemotherapy.com

Chemotherapy may be given in many ways:

- Injection: The chemotherapy is given by a shot in a muscle in your arm, thigh, or hip or right under the skin in the fatty part of your arm, leg, or belly.

- Intra-arterial (IA): The chemotherapy goes directly into the artery that is feeding the cancer.

- Intravenous IV The chemotherapy goes directly into a vein.

- Topically: The chemotherapy comes in a cream that you rub onto your skin.

- Orally: The chemotherapy comes in pills, capsules, or liquids that you swallow.

Chemotherapy medications commonly used to treat head and neck cancer:

- 5 Fluorouracil An antimetabolite fluoropyrimidine analog of the nucleoside pyrimidine with antineoplastic activity. Fluorouracil and its metabolites possess a number of different mechanisms of action. In vivo, fluoruracil is converted to the active metabolite 5-fluoroxyuridine monophosphate (F-UMP); replacing uracil, F-UMP incorporates into RNA and inhibits RNA processing, thereby inhibiting cell growth. Another active metabolite, 5-5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine-5'-O-monophosphate (F-dUMP), inhibits thymidylate synthase, resulting in the depletion of thymidine triphosphate (TTP), one of the four nucleotide triphosphates used in the in vivo synthesis of DNA. Other fluorouracil metabolites incorporate into both RNA and DNA; incorporation into RNA results in major effects on both RNA processing and functions.

- Carboplatinum A second-generation platinum compound with a broad spectrum of antineoplastic properties. Carboplatin contains a platinum atom complexed with two ammonia groups and a cyclobutane-dicarboxyl residue. This agent is activated intracellularly to form reactive platinum complexes that bind to nucleophilic groups such as GC-rich sites in DNA, thereby inducing intrastrand and interstrand DNA cross-links, as well as DNA-protein cross-links. These carboplatin-induced DNA and protein effects result in apoptosis and cell growth inhibition. This agent possesses tumoricidal activity similar to that of its parent compound, cisplatin, but is more stable and less toxic.

- Cisplatinum An inorganic platinum agent (cis-diamminedichloroplatinum) with antineoplastic activity. Cisplatin forms highly reactive, charged, platinum complexes which bind to nucleophilic groups such as GC-rich sites in DNA, inducing intrastrand and interstrand DNA cross-links, as well as DNA-protein cross-links. These cross-links result in apoptosis and cell growth inhibition.

- Erbitux: A monoclonal antibody used to treat certain types of head and neck cancer, and colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Erbitux binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is found on the surface of some types of cancer cells. Also called cetuximab.

- Paclitaxel A compound extracted from the Pacific yew tree Taxus brevifolia with antineoplastic activity. Paclitaxel binds to tubulin and inhibits the disassembly of microtubules, thereby resulting in the inhibition of cell division. This agent also induces apoptosis by binding to and blocking the function of the apoptosis inhibitor protein Bcl-2 (B-cell Leukemia 2).

Radiation therapy:

A method of destroying cancer cells.

- External Beam Therapy: A method of delivering a beam of high energy x-rays to a tumor. www.radiologyinfo.org

- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy IMRT: An advanced mode of highly precise radiotherapy that uses computer controlled x-ray accelerators to deliver precise radiation to a tumor or specific areas within the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding normal tissue. www.radiologyinfo.org

- TomoTherapy(r)is a form of CT Guided Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. The primary advantage of delivering radiation in a CT like fashion from 360 degrees is the ability to precisely deliver radiation to a cancerous tumor while sparing the normal healthy tissue around it. A daily CT is used to precisely place the radiation beam and allows the operator to modify the treatment should the patients anatomy change due to weight loss or tumor shrinkage. Any cancerous lesion that is treated with external beam radiation can be treated with TomoTherapy. www.tomotherapy.com





For suggestions, contributions, corrections or questions about this section, please contact:

Library Staff