To perform a single-arm study to determine the effectiveness of and potential toxic reactions to local hyperthermia and systemic carboplatin (cis-diammine-1,1-cyclobutane dicarboxylate platinum II) for the treatment of advanced or recurrent squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck.


Eight patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and stage IV disease (N2 or N3 neck adenopathy) or recurrent local-regional disease and who were previously and definitively treated were included in the study. Thermochemotherapy was administered every 4 weeks. Recorded end points were tumor response, duration of response, incidence of distant metastases, survival, cause of death, and toxic reactions.


One patient had a complete response to therapy, and two had a partial response. Five patients had no response or developed progressive disease during therapy. Six patients died after 4-13 months of progressive disease. Two long-term survivors received radiation therapy; one also underwent surgical resection for residual neck disease. Each thermochemotherapeutic session was well tolerated, with minimal discomfort. Toxic reactions included hypotension, vomiting, hyponatremia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and infection at the site of administration. There were no life-threatening toxic reactions.


The combined use of hyperthermia and carboplatin shows potential in the management of unresectable head and neck tumors and is safe and well tolerated. Further studies on thermochemotherapy are warranted to assess its potential.