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Head and Neck Cancer

New ASCO Guideline Addresses Head/Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Unknown Primary

ASCO has released a new clinical guideline titled, “Diagnosis and Management of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Unknown Primary in the Head and Neck: ASCO Guideline.”1 The guideline, promulgated by an international expert panel, is intended to “provide evidence-based recommendations to practicing...

head and neck cancer
survivorship

Pam Baker DeGuzman, PhD, on Assessing Distress During Telemedicine Visits With Rural Survivors of Head and Neck Cancer

Pam Baker DeGuzman, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Nursing, discusses her study findings on the use of the NCCN Distress Thermometer, which identified and addressed distress in patients treated for head and neck cancer who were then referred to speech pathologists, lymphedema specialists, and social workers (Abstract HSR20-082).

Head and Neck Cancer
Supportive Care
Survivorship

Better Mental Health Screening Needed for Survivors of Head and Neck Cancer

The threat posed by head and neck cancer extends well beyond the physical disease, according to research presented at the 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.1,2 The pair of studies underscored the high costs of survivorship, including elevated rates of chronic pain, substance...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Study Finds Chemoradiation Plus Bevacizumab Safe and Feasible in Locally or Regionally Advanced Nasopharyngeal Cancer

The addition of bevacizumab to the current standard of care of chemoradiation therapy is safe and feasible for the treatment of locally or regionally advanced nasopharyngeal cancer, according to data presented at the 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.1 “I’m pleased to report...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH

Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH, Leslye M. Heisler Assistant Professor for Lung Cancer Excellence at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, underscored the paucity of treatment options for metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. “Even though pembrolizumab is...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Pembrolizumab Plus Cetuximab Shows Antitumor Activity in Squamous Cell Head and Neck Cancer

The first trial to evaluate anti–­programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) blockade combined with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibition in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma demonstrates promising activity of the drug combination in patients with platinum-refractory or -ineligible...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Sue Sun Yom, MD, PhD

Sue Sun Yom, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology & Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, said there is “reasonableness to further investigation” of the combination of programmed cell death...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Pembrolizumab Plus Radiotherapy Worthy of Further Study in Locally Advanced Squamous Cell Head and Neck Cancer

The combination of the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab and definitive radiation therapy appears to be a safe and feasible option for patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer who are not eligible for cisplatin, according to data presented at the 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck...

Head and Neck Cancer

Expert Point of View: Tanguy Y. Seiwert, MD

Moderator of the session, Tanguy Y. Seiwert, MD, Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Oncology Disease Group and Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, underscored the “dramatically good” preclinical data supporting the use of mTOR inhibitors in advanced...

Head and Neck Cancer

Study Suggests Adjuvant Everolimus May Benefit Patients With Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

The mTOR inhibitor everolimus, used to treat breast and kidney cancers, may benefit patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, according to data presented at the 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.1 The results of an investigator-initiated, phase II...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Tanguy Y. Seiwert, MD

Tanguy Y. Seiwert, MD, moderator of the session on the phase II trial of neoadjuvant nivolumab with or without ipilimumab in patients with oral cavity cancer, underscored concerns about differences in outcome measures. Dr. Seiwert is Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Oncology Disease Group and...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Phase II Trial Finds Neoadjuvant Immunotherapy Feasible in Oral Cavity Cancer

The results of a phase II study suggest that a short course of immunotherapy prior to surgery for oral cavity cancer may trigger tumor regression, possibly providing long-term benefits for patients. According to data presented at the 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium,1 a 3-week ...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Immune-Restorative Agent May Boost Immunotherapy Response in Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

Immune modulation with checkpoint inhibitors has shown beneficial effects in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, but responses have been limited to a small number of patients. According to data presented at the 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium, however, an...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Sue Sun Yom, MD, PhD

Sue Sun Yom, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology & Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, said there is “reasonableness to further investigation” of the combination of programmed cell death...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Pembrolizumab Plus Radiotherapy Worthy of Further Study in Locally Advanced Squamous Cell Head and Neck Cancer

The combination of the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab and definitive radiation therapy appears to be a safe and feasible option for patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer who are not eligible for cisplatin, according to data presented at the 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck...

head and neck cancer

Sue Sun Yom, MD, PhD, on HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer: Challenges in De-intensifying Radiation Therapy

Sue Sun Yom, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, talks about the variety of evolving ways to deintensify radiation therapy, the critical need to counsel patients on the risks and benefits, and the ethical importance of respecting patient preferences in choosing their cancer therapies.

head and neck cancer
immunotherapy

Jared Weiss, MD, on Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: When Standard Therapy is Contraindicated

Jared Weiss, MD, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, discusses outcomes for patients with stage III or IV disease who are ineligible for the standard treatment of cisplatin plus radiotherapy. His data suggest that treatment with pembrolizumab/radiotherapy instead is tolerable, with improvements seen in progression-free and overall survival (Abstract LBA1).

head and neck cancer
immunotherapy

Jonathan D. Schoenfeld, MD, MPH, on Oral Cavity Cancer: Neoadjuvant Nivolumab With or Without Ipilimumab

Jonathan D. Schoenfeld, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, discusses phase II study results with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab or the combination of PD-1/CTLA-4 inhibition with nivolumab/ipilimumab in patients with newly diagnosed untreated oral cavity cancer (Abstract 1).

head and neck cancer
pain management

Gopal K. Bajaj, MD, MBA, on Reducing Opioid Use in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer Undergoing Radiotherapy

Gopal K. Bajaj, MD, MBA, of the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, discusses the results of a small study that showed prophylactic gabapentin can be safely and effectively used to significantly reduce pain and the use of opioids in patients undergoing radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

head and neck cancer

David Adelstein, MD, on Guidelines for Treating HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

David Adelstein, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, discusses the hypothesis that treatment can be de-intensified in patients with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer and a good prognosis.

head and neck cancer
issues in oncology

Jill Gilbert, MD, on HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer: Challenges in De-intensifying Systemic Therapies

Jill Gilbert, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, discusses this ongoing area of investigation and which patients can safely undergo a de-intensification of treatment. Based on two randomized trials, cetuximab should not be substituted for cisplatin as a de-intensification strategy in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer.

head and neck cancer
immunotherapy

Assuntina G. Sacco, MD, on Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Trial Results on Pembrolizumab and Cetuximab

Assuntina G. Sacco, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, discusses the results of a small phase II study, which suggest that pembrolizumab plus cetuximab may show activity for platinum-refractory/-ineligible patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (Abstract 15).

head and neck cancer
immunotherapy

Nadeem Riaz, MD, on Established and Emerging Biomarkers for Immunotherapy in Head and Neck Cancer

Nadeem Riaz, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the biomarkers that have emerged for immunotherapy and their tumor microenvironments, from PD-L1 staining and the Combined Positive Score to next-generation genomic technologies.

head and neck cancer
symptom management

Carryn M. Anderson, MD, on Reducing Severe Oral Mucositis and Its Effect on Patient Outcomes

Carryn M. Anderson, MD, of the University of Iowa Hospital, discusses the investigational agent GC4419, previously shown to be safe and effective in decreasing the duration, incidence, and severity of oral mucositis in patients receiving concurrent cisplatin and radiation for oral cavity and oropharyngeal squamous cancers. The 2-year tumor outcome data suggest that GC4419 does not seem to compromise tumor control (Abstract LBA2).

head and neck cancer

Francis P. Worden, MD, on the Role of Induction Chemotherapy in Laryngeal Preservation

Francis P. Worden, MD, of the University of Michigan Health System Comprehensive Cancer Center, explores the use of novel biomarkers that may help predict response to induction chemotherapy and survival in patients with locally advanced laryngeal cancer.

Lung Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer
Gynecologic Cancers
Breast Cancer

FDA Pipeline: Priority Review in Lung Cancer, Breakthrough Therapy Designation in Head and Neck Cancer, and More

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Priority Review to brigatinib for the treatment of ALK-positive lung cancer and Breakthrough Therapy designation to a potential first-in-class oral antagonist of inhibitors of apoptosis proteins for the treatment of head and neck...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

2020 Head and Neck Cancers Symposium: Immune Restorative Agent May Boost Immunotherapy Response in Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

Immune modulation with checkpoint inhibitors has shown benefit in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, but responses have been limited to a small number of patients. According to data presented by Gregory T. Wolf, MD, FACS, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and...

Head and Neck Cancer

2020 Head and Neck Cancers Symposium: Adjuvant Everolimus for Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

The mTOR inhibitor everolimus may extend progression-free survival for patients with advanced head and neck cancer who are at high risk for recurrence after standard treatment. Patients enrolled in a randomized phase II trial who received the agent were more likely to be cancer-free 1 year after...

Immunotherapy
Head and Neck Cancer

2020 Head and Neck Cancers Symposium: Nivolumab With or Without Ipilimumab for the Neoadjuvant Treatment of Patients With Oral Cavity Cancer

Results from a new clinical trial suggest that neoadjuvant immunotherapy for oral cavity cancers may elicit tumor regression, which could provide long-term benefit for patients. Findings were presented by Jonathan D. Schoenfeld, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, and...

Immunotherapy
Head and Neck Cancer

2020 Head and Neck Cancers Symposium: Pembrolizumab Plus Radiotherapy for Platinum-Ineligible Patients With Locally Advanced HNSCC

A new phase II trial has found that the combination of radiation therapy and pembrolizumab led to improved survival outcomes and acceptable toxicity for patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The combination therapy may offer a new treatment option for...

Lung Cancer
Lymphoma
Bladder Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer
Gastroesophageal Cancer
Gastrointestinal Cancer
Immunotherapy

FDA Pipeline: Priority Reviews in Lung Cancers, Lymphoma

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Priority Review to treatments for non–small cell and small cell lung cancers, as well as for diffuse large-B cell lymphoma (DLBCL); Breakthrough Therapy designation to an antibody-drug conjugate for bladder cancer; and a double Fast...

Lymphoma
Lung Cancer
Gastrointestinal Cancer
Breast Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

FDA Pipeline: Priority Reviews in Lymphoma, Lung Cancer, GIST, and Breast Cancer

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Priority Review to agents in lymphoma, lung cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and breast cancer, and granted Fast Track designation to a first-in-class radioenhancer hafnium oxide nanoparticle in head and neck cancer. Priority...

Head and Neck Cancer

Plasma Circulating Tumor HPV DNA for the Detection of Recurrent HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer

In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Bhishamjit S. Chera, MD, and colleagues found that surveillance for circulating tumor human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA was accurate in identifying disease recurrence in patients with curatively treated HPV-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell ...

Head and Neck Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Do Socioeconomic Factors Play a Role in Outcomes for HPV-Positive Head and Neck Cancer?

Survival outcomes for patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck have made significant gains in recent years, but new research published by Pike et al in JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network has found some groups have not...

Head and Neck Cancer
Pain Management

Gabapentin and Methadone for Patients Undergoing Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer

With nearly all patients who undergo treatment for cancer of the head and neck experiencing oral mucositis, effective pain control is one of the main goals of physicians and care teams. Looking to provide more effective relief for patients—while also reducing the need for opioid painkillers—a team...

Head and Neck Cancer

Patients With HPV-Positive and HPV-Negative Oropharyngeal Cancer May Have Different Rates of Mortality

New research indicates that there is a higher risk of early death among patients with oropharyngeal cancer not associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) vs those whose tumors are HPV-positive. The findings are published by Fullerton et al in Cancer.  The incidence of oropharyngeal cancer is...

Head and Neck Cancer

T-DM1 Shows Activity in HER2-Amplified Salivary Gland Cancer in Small Patient Sample of NCI-MATCH

The antibody-drug conjugate ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) showed activity in HER2-amplified salivary gland tumors, according to data published by Jhaveri et al in Annals of Oncology. The publication is for ‘Arm Q,’ which is one of nearly 40 single-arm phase II treatments in the NCI-Molecular...

Head and Neck Cancer

Saliva Test May Play A Role in the Early Detection of HPV-Related Oropharyngeal Cancer

A report by Wang et al in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics described the use of acoustofluidics, a noninvasive method that analyzes saliva for the presence of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16), the pathogenic strain of the disease associated with oropharyngeal cancers. This novel technique...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Pembrolizumab vs Cetuximab Plus Chemotherapy in Recurrent or Metastatic Head/Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

As reported in The Lancet by Barbara Burtness, MD, of the Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues, the phase III KEYNOTE-048 trial has shown improved overall survival with first-line pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy vs cetuximab plus chemotherapy among patients...

Lung Cancer
Bladder Cancer
Colorectal Cancer
Hematologic Malignancies
Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Breast Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

FDA Pipeline: Priority Reviews in SCLC, Bladder Cancer, Colorectal Cancer

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Priority Reviews for treatments in extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC), non–muscle invasive bladder cancer, and BRAF V600E–mutant colorectal cancer. The Agency also recently issued multiple Breakthrough Therapy designations and ...

Head and Neck Cancer
Integrative Oncology
Symptom Management

Acupuncture May Reduce Radiation-Induced Dry Mouth for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

After receiving acupuncture treatment 3 days a week during the course of radiation treatment, patients with head and neck cancer experienced less dry mouth, according to study results published by Garcia et al in JAMA Network Open. The results are from the first randomized, placebo-controlled,...

Colorectal Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer

Early Research Shows Potential New Targets in Treating Glioblastoma, Colorectal Cancer, and Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Glioblastoma multiforme, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma represent some of the most difficult-to-treat cancers and collectively cause more than 114,000 deaths each year in the United States. A trio of recently published basic research studies in these cancers have found...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy for Head/Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Questions Raised by KEYNOTE-048

There is a new first-line treatment option for patients with newly diagnosed, recurrent, or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. As reported by Burtness et al in The Lancet, pembrolizumab improved overall survival vs the standard-of-care regimen of cetuximab and platinum-based...

Head and Neck Cancer

PIK3CA Mutation Status and Disease-Free Survival in Patients With HPV-Associated Head and Neck Cancer Treated With Deintensified Chemoradiotherapy

In a study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Beaty et al found that the presence of a PIK3CA mutation was associated with poorer disease-free survival among patients receiving deintensified definitive chemoradiotherapy for human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal...

Head and Neck Cancer

Nivolumab vs Chemotherapy in Advanced Esophageal Cancer

Nivolumab improved overall survival compared with chemotherapy in previously treated patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in the final analysis of the phase III ATTRACTION-3 study. The data were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019 Presidential...

Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy

Pembrolizumab With or Without Chemotherapy vs Cetuximab Plus Chemotherapy in Recurrent or Metastatic HNSCC

As reported in The Lancet by Barbara Burtness, MD, and colleagues, the phase III KEYNOTE-048 trial has shown improved overall survival with first-line pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy vs cetuximab plus chemotherapy among patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and...

Head and Neck Cancer
Skin Cancer

Head and Neck Melanoma in Adolescents and Young Adults: 1995 to 2014

Head and neck melanoma appears to be on the rise in young people in the United States and Canada, according to a study by Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, PhD, MPH, CHES, of the Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine, and colleagues. Because the prognosis of head and neck melanoma is...

Head and Neck Cancer

Remembering Craig Alguire

It is with great sadness that we report Craig Alguire, MD, 42, died on October 11, 2019, at his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme in 2015, Dr. Alguire chronicled the effects the cancer was having on his life in his Patient’s Corner column, published in...

Head and Neck Cancer

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Activity of Tipifarnib in Patients With HRAS-Mutant Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

A small phase II study investigating the efficacy and safety of the investigational farnesyl transferase inhibitor tipifarnib in patients with recurrent and metastatic HRAS-mutant head and neck squamous cell carcinoma found the agent produced objective responses in the patient population. Based on...

Head and Neck Cancer
Symptom Management

Superoxide Dismutase Mimetic for Reducing Severe Oral Mucositis From Concurrent Radiotherapy and Cisplatin in Head and Neck Cancer

In a phase IIb trial reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Anderson et al found that the superoxide dismutase mimetic GC4419 was effective in reducing the duration, incidence, and severity of severe oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer receiving concurrent radiotherapy and...

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