Dr. Saba on Immunotherapy/Radiation Combo in Head and Neck Cancer

Nabil F. Saba, MD, FACP
Published: Thursday, Oct 31, 2019



Nabil F. Saba, MD, FACP, director, Head and Neck Medical Oncology Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Otolaryngology, Emory University School of Medicine, discusses the potential benefit of immunotherapy in combination with radiation in head and neck cancer. 
 
Historically, patients who receive chemotherapy and radiation experience significant long-term toxicities, says Saba. These adverse events may affect a patient’s swallowing andrespiratory function and could lead to disfigurement. 
 
The combination of immunotherapy and radiation could be a way to mitigate these toxicities. The approach appears to have similar efficacy as chemotherapy while preserving quality of life for patients. Ongoing trials combining immune checkpoint inhibitors with radiation in the reirradiation setting are ongoing, explains Saba. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a curative approach with less toxicity. 
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Nabil F. Saba, MD, FACP, director, Head and Neck Medical Oncology Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Otolaryngology, Emory University School of Medicine, discusses the potential benefit of immunotherapy in combination with radiation in head and neck cancer. 
 
Historically, patients who receive chemotherapy and radiation experience significant long-term toxicities, says Saba. These adverse events may affect a patient’s swallowing andrespiratory function and could lead to disfigurement. 
 
The combination of immunotherapy and radiation could be a way to mitigate these toxicities. The approach appears to have similar efficacy as chemotherapy while preserving quality of life for patients. Ongoing trials combining immune checkpoint inhibitors with radiation in the reirradiation setting are ongoing, explains Saba. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a curative approach with less toxicity. 



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