Carboplatin and paclitaxel are standard drugs for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Temsirolimus is approved for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer and is considered investigational for head and neck cancer.
Temsirolimus blocks a molecule called mTOR, which appears to function abnormally in head and neck cancer. In laboratory studies, temsirolimus improved the ability of carboplatin and paclitaxel to kill head and neck cancer cells.
At Memorial Sloan-Kettering, investigators will be conducting the phase I portion of this study to find the optimal dose of temsirolimus to give with carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.