A Randomized, Double-Blind Pilot Study of N-acetylcysteine Mucoadherent Rinse Versus Placebo for Thickened Secretions and Mucositis Secondary to Chemoradiotherapy in the Management of Head and Neck Malignancies


Rochester, Minn., Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz.

Trial status:

Open for Enrollment

Why is this study being done?

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES: I. To determine the effectiveness of N-acetylcysteine (acetylcysteine) in improving saliva viscosity (as measured by the Groningen Radiotherapy-Induced Xerostomia [GRIX]) in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. SECONDARY OBJECTIVES: I. To determine whether N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can improve other GRIX subscale for patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. II. To determine whether NAC can improve patient reported quality of life as measured by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)-Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ) Head & Neck (H&N)35. III. To assess the adverse event profile of NAC as measured by the CTCAE every week during radiation. IV. To determine patient adherence to N-acetylcysteine mucoadherent rinse using patient reported surveys. V. To determine the long-term benefits of N-acetylcysteine as measured by the GRIX questionnaire at 45 days and 90 days post treatment. OUTLINE: Patients are randomized to 1 of 2 arms. ARM I: Patients receive acetylcysteine oral rinse and gargle or swish for 60 seconds then spit 5 times per day, beginning within 3 days of the initiation of radiotherapy to 14 days following completion of radiotherapy. ARM II: Patients receive a placebo oral rinse and gargle or swish for 60 seconds and then spit 5 times per day beginning within 3 days of the initiation of radiotherapy to 14 days following completion of radiotherapy. After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up at 45 and 90 days.

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: - Histological confirmation of tumor of the oral cavity, oropharynx, supraglottic larynx, or nasopharynx - Receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy/chemobiotherapy to a minimum dose equivalent to 60 Gy in 30 fractions in the adjuvant or definitive setting - Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) 0, 1 or 2 - Initiation of investigational agent =< 3 days after initiation of radiotherapy - Negative pregnancy test done =< 7 days prior to registration, for women of childbearing potential only - Ability to complete questionnaire(s) by themselves or with assistance - Provide informed written consent - Willing to return mail-in questionnaires during the observation phase of the study Exclusion Criteria: - Any of the following: - Pregnant women - Nursing women - Men or women of childbearing potential who are unwilling to employ adequate contraception - Co-morbid systemic illnesses or other severe concurrent disease which, in the judgment of the investigator, would make the patient inappropriate for entry into this study or interfere significantly with the proper assessment of safety and toxicity of the prescribed regimens - Immunocompromised patients and patients known to be human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive and currently receiving antiretroviral therapy; NOTE: Patients known to be HIV positive, but without clinical evidence of an immunocompromised state, are eligible for this trial - Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia, or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with study requirements - Receiving any other investigational agent which would be considered as a treatment for the primary neoplasm - History of myocardial infarction =< 6 months, or congestive heart failure requiring use of ongoing maintenance therapy for life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias - Receipt of induction chemotherapy - Previous receipt of head and neck irradiation - Utilization of amifostine during radiotherapy - Greater than or equal to grade 2 dry mouth prior to chemoradiotherapy or greater than or equal to grade 2 mucositis - Previous intolerance/adverse effect/allergy to any component of the placebo or active agent - History of Sjogren's, lupus or scleroderma

Last updated:




IRB Number: