This phase II trial studies how well radiation therapy with or without cisplatin works in treating patients with stage III-IVA squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck who have undergone surgery.
Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to kill tumor cells and shrink tumors. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as cisplatin, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading.
It is not yet known if radiation therapy is more effective with or without cisplatin in treating patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
1. Pathologically proven diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the head/neck (oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx or larynx
2. Patient has undergone total resection of the primary tumor with curative intent
3. For oropharynx primary tumors, the patient must have negative human papillomavirus (HPV) status of the tumor as determined by p16 protein expression using immunohistochemistry (IHC)
1. Patients with a history of a curatively treated malignancy must be disease-free for at least two years except for carcinoma in situ of cervix and/or non-melanomatous skin cancer; patients must not have received chemotherapy or investigational therapy within two years of surgical resection of the primary tumor
2. Patient must not have had previous irradiation to the head and neck that would result in overlap in radiation fields for the current disease
3. Patients with recurrent disease or multiple primaries are ineligible
Patients are randomized to 1 of 2 treatment arms.
1. ARM A: Patients undergo intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) once daily (QD) 5 days a week for 6 weeks in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
2. ARM B: Patients undergo IMRT QD 5 days a week and receive cisplatin intravenously (IV) over 1-2 hours weekly for 6 weeks in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up every 6 months for 3 years and then every 12 months for 7 years.