Dr. Vokes on Moving Immunotherapy into Frontline for Head and Neck Cancer

Everett Vokes, MD
Published Online: Friday, Jan 06, 2017



Everett Vokes, MD, John E. Ultmann Professor of Medicine and Radiation Oncology, physician-in-chief, University of Chicago Medical Center, chair, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, discusses the possibility of moving immunotherapy agents into the frontline setting for patients with head and neck cancer.

Researchers need to consider this treatment option carefully, he explains. This is because the frontline setting is curative. Therefore, if an endpoint is missed in a given patient, this could translate into life or death. The safest way is to give standard therapy, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, in frontline and then as an adjuvant treatment. The challenge with this, he explains, is not knowing what patients are benefitting from this. There also needs to be longer follow-up to assess the impact.

Immunotherapy could also be given prior to chemoradiation or surgery, and during chemoradiation. These types of clinical trials are currently ongoing, Vokes explains.


Everett Vokes, MD, John E. Ultmann Professor of Medicine and Radiation Oncology, physician-in-chief, University of Chicago Medical Center, chair, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, discusses the possibility of moving immunotherapy agents into the frontline setting for patients with head and neck cancer.

Researchers need to consider this treatment option carefully, he explains. This is because the frontline setting is curative. Therefore, if an endpoint is missed in a given patient, this could translate into life or death. The safest way is to give standard therapy, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, in frontline and then as an adjuvant treatment. The challenge with this, he explains, is not knowing what patients are benefitting from this. There also needs to be longer follow-up to assess the impact.

Immunotherapy could also be given prior to chemoradiation or surgery, and during chemoradiation. These types of clinical trials are currently ongoing, Vokes explains.



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