ECCO 2017 | The development of immunotherapies in the treatment of relapsed metastatic head and neck cancer

Kevin Harrington

Kevin Harrington, MBBS, MRCP, FRCR, FRCP, PhD from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK discusses the development of immunotherapies at the European Cancer Congress of the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The typical treatment for relapsed metastatic head and neck cancer is chemotherapy, such as cisplatin. However, these patients relapse after approximately four to five months and average survival is approximately nine to ten months. The next line of treatment for these patients is also typically chemotherapy, however, the benefits derived are poor. Immunotherapy drugs, such as nivolumab, are being developed. A recent Phase III trial with nivolumab showed a significant increase in overall survival compared to conventional chemotherapies, as well as a marked improvement in quality of life. The next step is to combine immunotherapies with radiation to further improve overall survival. He states that the treatment landscape for relapsed metastatic head and neck cancer will drastically change within the next decade.

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