In 1978, a pilot study began of 29 patients with advanced tumors of the head and neck. The study showed a initial peripheral neuropathy rate of 55%, despite a dose limitation of 12g/m2 of misonidazole. Tumor response at 9 months was most encouraging. We are now able to examine tumor response and persistence of neuropathy in these patients 2 1/2 years after radical radiotherapy. The results are comparable with those obtained with hyperbaric oxygen in a clinical trial at this center during the 1970’s. Neuropathy was a serious side effect but the drug phenytoin has been shown to shorten the half-life of misonidazole. We have examined the effect of phenytoin on the pharmacokinetics of misonidazole in 13 patients who received radical radiotherapy for advanced head and neck tumors or oesophageal tumors. Misonidazole was given in multiple doses, i.e. daily or weekly as it would be used in conventional therapy. Phenytoin was given either daily throughout treatment, or it was withdrawn during treatment. There were dramatic changes in the half-life of misonidazole, but the concentration at the time of irradiation was little affected. The significant changes in the half-life of misonidazole and the increased concentration of the metabolite desmethylmisonidazole are discussed.

Moore, Paterson, Dawes, Henk, , , , , (). Misonidazole in patients receiving radical radiotherapy: pharmacokinetic effects of phenytoin, tumor response and neurotoxicity. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics, ;8(3-4):361-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7107352