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Targeted Therapies and Immune-Checkpoint Inhibition in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Where Do We Stand Today and Where to Go?


von der Grün, Jens; Rödel, Franz; Brandts, Christian; Fokas, Emmanouil; Guckenberger, Matthias; Rödel, Claus; Balermpas, Panagiotis (2019). Targeted Therapies and Immune-Checkpoint Inhibition in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Where Do We Stand Today and Where to Go? Cancers, 11:472.

Abstract

With an increased understanding of the tumor biology of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), targeted therapies have found their way into the clinical treatment routines against this entity. Nevertheless, to date platinum-based cytostatic agents remain the first line choice and targeting the epidermal growth factor-receptor (EGFR) with combined cetuximab and radiation therapy remains the only targeted therapy approved in the curative setting. Investigation of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), such as antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand PD-L1, resulted in a change of paradigms in oncology and in the first approval of new drugs for treating SCCHN. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab, two anti-PD-1 antibodies, were the first agents shown to improve overall survival for patients with metastatic/recurrent tumors in recent years. Currently, several clinical trials investigate the role of ICI in different therapeutic settings. A robust set of biomarkers will be an inevitable tool for future individualized treatment approaches including radiation dose de-escalation and escalation strategies. This review aims to summarize achieved goals, the current status and future perspectives regarding targeted therapies and ICI in the management of SCCHN.

Abstract

With an increased understanding of the tumor biology of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), targeted therapies have found their way into the clinical treatment routines against this entity. Nevertheless, to date platinum-based cytostatic agents remain the first line choice and targeting the epidermal growth factor-receptor (EGFR) with combined cetuximab and radiation therapy remains the only targeted therapy approved in the curative setting. Investigation of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), such as antibodies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand PD-L1, resulted in a change of paradigms in oncology and in the first approval of new drugs for treating SCCHN. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab, two anti-PD-1 antibodies, were the first agents shown to improve overall survival for patients with metastatic/recurrent tumors in recent years. Currently, several clinical trials investigate the role of ICI in different therapeutic settings. A robust set of biomarkers will be an inevitable tool for future individualized treatment approaches including radiation dose de-escalation and escalation strategies. This review aims to summarize achieved goals, the current status and future perspectives regarding targeted therapies and ICI in the management of SCCHN.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Radiation Oncology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Oncology
Life Sciences > Cancer Research
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cancer Research, Oncology
Language:English
Date:3 April 2019
Deposited On:05 Feb 2020 15:55
Last Modified:22 Apr 2020 22:35
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2072-6694
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11040472
PubMed ID:30987257

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