Dr. Burtness on Immunotherapy and Chemotherapy in Head and Neck Cancer

Barbara Burtness, MD
Published: Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016



Barbara Burtness, MD, professor of Medicine, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the potential benefits of using immunotherapy and chemotherapy together in head and neck cancer.
 
While it unknown if the combination is synergistic, would not necessarily even need to be to be beneficial, says Burtness. A patient could get an independent benefit from immunotherapy and from chemotherapy at the same time, providing the reliability of the chemotherapy response and the durability of the immunotherapy response together.
 
However, there may be some synergy. Chemotherapy causes DNA damage and cell death and, as the cells die, they release antigens. This creates mutations that may lead to novel antigens. The possibility that there really could be a uniquely synergistic effect, where each drug amplifies the benefit of the other, is very intriguing, says Burtness.
 


Barbara Burtness, MD, professor of Medicine, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the potential benefits of using immunotherapy and chemotherapy together in head and neck cancer.
 
While it unknown if the combination is synergistic, would not necessarily even need to be to be beneficial, says Burtness. A patient could get an independent benefit from immunotherapy and from chemotherapy at the same time, providing the reliability of the chemotherapy response and the durability of the immunotherapy response together.
 
However, there may be some synergy. Chemotherapy causes DNA damage and cell death and, as the cells die, they release antigens. This creates mutations that may lead to novel antigens. The possibility that there really could be a uniquely synergistic effect, where each drug amplifies the benefit of the other, is very intriguing, says Burtness.
 

View Conference Coverage
Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Clinical Interchange™: Translating Research to Inform Changing Paradigms: Assessment of Emerging Immuno-Oncology Strategies and Combinations across Lung, Head and Neck, and Bladder CancersOct 31, 20182.0
Community Practice Connections™: Precision Medicine for Community Oncologists: Assessing the Role of Tumor-Testing Technologies in Cancer CareNov 30, 20181.0
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