Immunotherapy is offering a lot of hope for head and neck cancers.
The recent approval of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) following progression on a platinum-based chemotherapy was a significant advancement for the disease. However, the approval of the PD-1 inhibitor only scratches the surface of the potential of immunotherapies in head and neck cancer, said Barbara A. Burtness, MD.
“Immunotherapy is a big change for head and neck cancer and there seems to be no doubt that there is activity for immunotherapies with pembrolizumab as well as nivolumab [Opdivo]” said Burtness, professor of Medicine, clinical research program leader, Head and Neck Cancers Program at Yale Cancer Center.
“But one question that still remains is, ‘Will there be a role for these agents in first-line therapy for patients with metastatic recurrent disease who have not previously failed a platinum-based approach?’” added Burtness.
In an interview with OncLive, Burtness discussed the potential role for immunotherapy in frontline head and neck cancer, as well as the possible benefit of using it in combination with standard treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy.
Read Full Article: Pembrolizumab Approval Is Tip of the Iceberg for Immunotherapy in HNSCC
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