Make your appointment or second opinion with Dana-Farber today to meet with an onsite specialist.

Adult Patients:877-442-3324

Pediatric Patients:888-733-4662

Make Appointment OnlineInternational Patients

Online second opinions

Can’t get to Boston? Explore our Online Second Opinion service to get expert advice from Dana-Farber oncologists.

Request a second opinion

Contact & Directions

Email Dana-Farber

Main Number617-632-3000

Toll-Free Number866-408-DFCI (3324)

Maps & DirectionsContact InformationSend us a Question or Comment

How to Help

Discover the ways to give and how to get involved to support Dana-Farber.

Learn More
Give now

Safety Study of Afatinib and Postoperative Radiation Therapy to Treat Head and Neck Cancer

Status: Recruiting
Phase: Phase 1
Diagnosis: Head and Neck Cancer
NCT ID: NCT01783587 (View complete trial on
DFCI Protocol ID: 12-267


This research study is a Phase I clinical trial. Phase I clinical trials test the safety of an investigational drug. Phase I studies also try to define the appropriate dose of the investigational drug to use for further studies. "Investigational" means that the drug is still being studied and that research doctors are trying to find out more about it-such as the safest dose to use and the side effects it may cause. Afatinib has been studied in other clinical trials of participants with head and neck cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer. This dose of Afatinib has also been studied in other research studies. This is the first clinical trial to study Afatinib in combination with Radiation Therapy. The purpose of this study is to determine the safest dose of Afatinib when given in combination with Radiation Therapy or in combination with Radiation Therapy and chemotherapy for head and neck cancer. Afatinib is a drug that may stop cancer cells from growing abnormally. This drug works by blocking multiple proteins known to play a role in the growth of cancer cells. Information from laboratory research studies suggests that this drug may help to make head and neck cancer cells more sensitive to Radiation Therapy. The other therapy in this research study is Radiation Therapy or Radiation Therapy plus a chemotherapy drug called Docetaxel. After surgery, Radiation Therapy and chemotherapy is the standard treatment if you have high risk disease. "High risk disease" means that without additional therapy, there is a high risk that the disease may return. In this study, participants with high-risk disease will receive Radiation Therapy and Docetaxel and Afatinib. "Intermediate risk" means that there is an intermediate risk that the disease may return. Radiation Therapy alone is the standard treatment approach for intermediate risk cancer. In this study, participants with intermediate risk disease will receive Radiation Therapy and Afatinib.


Conducting Institutions:
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital

Overall PI:
Danielle Margalit, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Site-responsible Investigators:
Annie W. Chan, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Patricia McHugh, RN, 617-632-3090,
Massachusetts General Hospital: Cancer Trials Call Center, 877-789-6100

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria: - Histologically proven diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck - Pathology from the primary surgery must be reviewed and finalized at either the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women's Hospital or the pathology department at any participating institution - Status post gross total resection with curative intent - Primary tumor site: oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx, hypopharynx - Disease must be defined as either high-risk or intermediate risk - Definition of high-risk: Any of the following high-risk features: positive margins (defined as tumor at ink), extracapsular extension of lymph node, gross T4a or T4b primary tumor, any lymph node ≥ 6cm (N3) - Definition of intermediate-risk: Absence of any high-risk features AND any one of the following intermediate risk features: Two or more positive lymph nodes involved with squamous cell carcinoma, single lymph node >3cm and <6cm, perineural invasion, lymphovascular invasion, Level IV or level V involvement of oral cavity or oropharyngeal tumors, or T2 oral cavity tumor with >5mm depth of invasion Exclusion Criteria: - Prior anti-epidermal growth factor (EGF) or anti-Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2 (HER2) therapy - Prior radiation therapy to the head and neck - Pregnant or breastfeeding - Distant metastases - Receiving other study agents - History of interstitial lung disease - Symptomatic peripheral neuropathy - Active or prior malignancy except non-melanoma skin cancer - History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic composition to afatinib or docetaxel - Cardiac left ventricular dysfunction - Uncontrolled intercurrent illness - HIV positive on combination antiretroviral therapy
  •   Email
  •   Print
  •   Share
  • Make an Appointment

    • For adults:
      877-442-3324 (877-442-DFCI)

    • Quick access:
      Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients

    • For children:
      888-733-4662 (888-PEDI-ONC)

    • Make Appointment Online