am going in for tonsillectomy and neck dissection. Was told that followup treatment using standard Cisplatin and radiation would likely be recommended and start 4 weeks after surgery. Does anyone have data about whether the use of the biologic Erbitux can be combined with Cisplatin chemo and radiation. Reports only say that treatment uses one or the other with radiation. Erbitux blocks new cell growth but long term data for reoccurance is not readily available. Erbitux is a new treatment technique. Where does one go to get updated information on this?
Jack in New Jersey
Original Post
Hi Jack
I can't help you with anything on Erbitux, but I had a similar course of treatment to you over here in the UK.
Radical neck disection to remove carcinoma to right tonsil, replacement with flap from forearm, removal of lympf nodes - all followed up with 6 weeks of daily radiotherapy and 2 chemotherapy sessions with Cisplatin.
Not an easy road, but I came through it OK and life was pretty much back to normal in 4-5 months.
Good luck.
Good morning Jack,
The UK government body responsible for recomending drugs for use in the NHS rejected the use of Erbitux for locally advanced head and neck SCC in England and Wales even though it was available in Scotland, Europe and America. A number of organisations appealed against this decision and MCF and two other groups were deemed to have a case to answer. the appeal hearing was held in London towards the end of last year and the first result was that the decision was put back for further consideration.
If you are treated with Erbitux we would be most interested to hear of your experiences.
We wish you well with the forthcoming treatment, please keep us posted. MCF has nearly two thousand members (mainly H&N cancer patients and carers)and all are dedicated to helping each other. Welcome aboard.
Keep Smiling Razzer
Thanks everyone for their posts. My surgery was successful and recovery is quick when one is healthy.

am still searching for what hospitals would use Erbitux treatment for my situation, with the standard Cisplatin and Radiation protocol. Its too bad oncologists don't yet have advancement like cardiologists do with preventing heart attacks before they happen by the use of statins. Maybe the future will bring this forward, i hear researchers are looking for those cancer markers. I am still pursuing if there are trials i can enter that would allow both Erbitux and the standard protocol. Although Erbitux is FDA approved hospitals in the US, who are not involved in trial testing, will only prescribe using the standard protocol for followup treatment. Thanks again everyone, this is a great site to obtain information and meet truly great people.
Good Morning Sandy witt,
Thank you for your posting,would you please keep us posted on how the treatment goes.We hope the news is always good.
Keep Smiling Razzer
my father suffering from head and neck cancer had undergone 3 surgery. 1st surgery was for buccal mucossa (nov, 2006) followed by radiotheraphy, 2nd was MRND(DEC,2007), 3rd for sub mandable(march 2008).now again recurrence on sub mandable.we have been advised to go for radiotherapy combined three choice of chemotheraphy 1) Platinum based chemotheraphy 2) Platinum based chemotheraphy along with BIOmab 3) Eributex (whatever v choose depending upon the cost 1st least costly followed by 2 and 3). Please advice the pros and cons of each.
Hi i am on Cetuximab (erbitux) plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel(taxol) i am getting 6 weeks induction chemo once a week ,ive done 4 so far. Then i will get 2 weeks rest,
Then 8 weeks of chemo and radiation,
Then 4 week rest then surgery

So far i have felt pretty good no nausea and not tired or sore.
They give me 20 mg of dexamethasone steroids to take the night before chemo , they make me very hungry and i eat for 2 days and eat right thru chemo and .
The only bad effects are the acne rash it didnt start till the second treatment but it got itchy and bad face scalp neck chest. Then they gave me some antibiotic cream and pills and scalp lotion. and its not to bad now.
If your interested i have the exact doses written down, the first week i got a loading dose they called it.
I also get Zofran anti nausea meds .
i think the steroids and the zofran have made things pretty easy.
Victor Brown email
Hi, I am being treated with Erbitux only with radiation. I've had 22 rt treatments so far out of 35 and 6 Erbitux infusions. (I cannot tolerate chemo, so it isn't an option).

The problem I'm encountering is the side effects of the 2 treatments together. The rt is causing burns on my chest and neck, while the erbitux is causing a rash on my chest and neck. Since the rash itches, it isn't very pleasant on top of the rt burns. I have been given a antibiotic cream for the rash which helps with the itching, but as with anything, nothing is perfect and it gets pretty uncomfortable at times.

I won't know how well the 2 treatments are working together until I finish all of the rts, but hopefully the results will be worth it!

Good luck on whatever course of treatment you decide to rely on!


Hi there is this treatment available on the NHS, and do you think I should be pushing for my mother to be givn it, she has A squamous Cell Carcinoma of the tonsil.
This is one of the post code lottery drugs and not that widely used in the uk yet.Wether or not its needed really depends on the prognosis received,it tends to be used used for patients with a an otherwise poor outlook.Successful surgery,chemo and radiation aren't usually candidates for the drug unless recurrence occurs.
to longleggedhair:

Cetuximab (Erbitux) has been assessed by NICE in the UK, you can read their summary here but essentially they conclude that patients who are fit enough and cannot have platinum chemotherapy should be allowed to have Cetuximab. Patients who shouldn't have platinum are those with hearing difficulties or renal problems (platinum could make either of these worse). If your mum fits into these categories then Cetuximab should be funded - if she doesn't then remember that there is currently no proof that Cetuximab is any better then platinum based chemo.

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