Skin Changes in Head and Neck Cancer During Immuno-(Chemo-) And Radiotherapy With Erbitux® (HICARE)


University of Heidelberg Medical Center

Status and phase

Phase 4


Head and Neck Cancer


Radiation: Fractionated Radiotherapy
Drug: Erbitux®

Study type


Funder types



2010-019748-38 (EudraCT Number)

Details and patient eligibility


This is a national multicenter phase IV study to assess acute radiation dermatitis of combined radioimmuno(chemo)therapy with Cetuximab in patients with locally advanced, non-metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (LASCCHN).

Full description

With the aim of optimizing combined treatment strategies in terms of efficacy as well as manageable side effects, the implementation of Cetuximab an EGFR targeting antibody demonstrated successfully a significant increase in survival times, although exhibiting an expected increase in skin toxicities (1,2). This Phase IV trial will explore this prominent side effect, which is due to a synergistic effect of radiodermatitis and acneiform rash, in great detail. In addition, feasibility aspects of the complex treatment schedule in common routine and with patients presenting an increased comorbidity rate compared to the study population studied in the pivotal Phase III trial will be observed. Further, peripheral blood samples of patients that consent to participate in the molecular monitoring will be collected and their genetic, epigenetic- and transcriptional profiles correlated with clinical outcome parameters. The goal of this translational program is to identify and confirm novel peripheral blood based molecular predictors and surrogates of therapy response. Tissue samples and available medical evidence of patients that consent to participate in the assessment of the HPV status will be collected. The goal of this program is to correlate HPV status with clinical outcome parameters. In addition, all patients will answer Quality of Life questionnaires including the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire, the Head and Neck cancer specific module (3) and the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). This prospective, open, multicenter phase IV study is designed to assess the rate of radiodermatitis in patients with LASCCHN treated with a combination of radiotherapy and the EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibody Cetuximab.


139 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Histologically confirmed, locally advanced (stage III, IVA or IVB) non-metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, oro- or hypopharynx and larynx
  • ECOG Performance Status of 0-2
  • ≥ 18 years of age
  • Life expectancy of at least 6 months.
  • Adequate bone marrow, liver and renal function (according to SmPC of Cetuximab) based on laboratory assessments raised within 7 days prior to start of study treatment.
  • Signed and dated informed consent before the start of specific protocol procedures.
  • Women of childbearing potential must have had a negative serum or urine beta-HCG pregnancy test within 7 days prior to the first administration of study treatment or must have a documented condition that prohibits pregnancy (e.g. post-menopausal; hysterectomy).
  • Patients enrolled in this trial must be willing to use effective birth control measures during the course of the trial and the subsequent 2 months

Exclusion criteria

  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Distant metastases
  • Previous radiotherapy for carcinoma of the head and neck
  • Participation in other clinical trial (according to the German Drug Law (Arzneimittelgesetz - AMG) within 30 days prior to start of study treatment
  • Previous exposure to epidermal growth factor (EGFR) targeted therapy
  • Known hypersensitive reaction to any of the components of study treatments
  • Previous or concurrent cancer within 5 years prior to study entry that is distinct in primary site or histology except adequately treated basal cell carcinoma or preinvasive cervical carcinoma.
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding patients
  • Substance abuse, medical, psychological or social conditions that may interfere with the patient's participation in the study or evaluation of the study results as judged by the investigator
  • Any condition that is unstable or could jeopardise the safety of the patient and their compliance in the study as judged by the investigator
  • Incapacity to consent or limited legal capacity to consent

Note: A combination of the applied radioimmunotherapy with a chemotherapy in terms of a Radioimmunochemotherapy (e.g. with Cisplatin or Carboplatin/5-Fluorouracil) is no exclusion criteria. Furthermore, a patient previously treated with an induction chemotherapy is allowed to participate in this trial.

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Single Group Assignment


None (Open label)

139 participants in 2 patient groups

Active Comparator group
Drug: Erbitux®
Fractionated Radiotherapy
Active Comparator group
Radiation: Fractionated Radiotherapy

Trial contacts and locations



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