New Research in the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancers

March 1, 2016

The 2016 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium was held February 18 to 20 in Scottsdale, Arizona. This meeting draws together the entire community of head and neck cancer specialists so they can discuss the latest research and treatment breakthroughs.

In this podcast, Ezra E.W. Cohen, MD, FRCPC, describes some of the themes and highlights from the meeting. The key themes were:

  • Less intense treatment of HPV-positive head and neck cancer [1:14]. In two studies, lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy or better targeted radiation therapy were as effective as standard treatments. Also, less intense treatment was linked with a higher quality of life [2:02]. Dr. Cohen notes that this approach of therapy is really promising, but more research is needed before it becomes a standard option.

  • New options to treat HPV-negative, or tobacco-related, head and neck cancers. In one study, the combination of palbociclib (Ibrance) and cetuximab (Erbitux) was very effective [4:15].

  • The promise of immunotherapy in the treatment of head and neck cancers. Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) led to significant tumor shrinkage. Nivolumab (Opdivo) was also effective. [5:47]

Dr. Cohen is an Associate Editor for Cancer.Net.

This is a prerecorded audio podcast, and it can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.

Share your thoughts on this blog post on Cancer.Net's Facebook and Twitter.