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ESMO 2023 | Novel findings in the treatment and disease biology of head and neck cancers at ESMO 2023

Ari Rosenberg, MD, The University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL, discusses the results of a trial determining the optimal administration of pembrolizumab in combination with chemoradiation for patients with head and neck cancer (HaNC). Treatment with sequential pembrolizumab alongside chemoradiotherapy demonstrated improved locoregional control (LRC) at 4 years compared to concurrent treatment. Dr Rosenberg also shares the results of the Phase II AIM-HN/SEQ-HN (NCT03719690) trial, where tipifarnib was given as a targeted treatment for patients with HaNC. The objective response rate (ORR) was 20% by independent review, and 30% by investigator assessment. Median progression-free survival was 2.6 months, and overall survival was 7.0 months. Grade 3+ treatment-related adverse events occurred in 56% of patients, but only 7% discontinued treatment due to adverse events. Tipifarnib showed anti-tumor activity and is the first targeted therapy for this rare head and neck squamous cell carcinoma subset, with ongoing combination studies to improve outcomes. This interview took place at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2023 Congress in Madrid, Spain.

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