Dr. Seiwert on Prognosis for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Tanguy I. Seiwert, MD
Published: Friday, Dec 23, 2016



Tanguy Y. Seiwert, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, discusses the current prognosis for patients with head and neck cancer prior to the FDA approvals of immunotherapy agents nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as treatments.

Head and neck cancer is generally curable; however, once it becomes recurrent or metastatic, the prognosis becomes very poor, Seiwert explains. Available treatments such as cetuximab (Erbitux) and chemotherapy regimens do not typically lead to survival benefits for patients. The field appeared to be very dismal, he says, until the approvals of the PD-1 inhibitors. These agents have a response rate of 13% to 20%, but they have a major impact on overall survival (OS). Currently, the 1-year OS rate with these agents is approximately 40%, which is unreached with other treatments.

These agents influence OS in a very significant way, while progression-free survival and response rate are not good markers of benefit, he adds.
 


Tanguy Y. Seiwert, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, discusses the current prognosis for patients with head and neck cancer prior to the FDA approvals of immunotherapy agents nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as treatments.

Head and neck cancer is generally curable; however, once it becomes recurrent or metastatic, the prognosis becomes very poor, Seiwert explains. Available treatments such as cetuximab (Erbitux) and chemotherapy regimens do not typically lead to survival benefits for patients. The field appeared to be very dismal, he says, until the approvals of the PD-1 inhibitors. These agents have a response rate of 13% to 20%, but they have a major impact on overall survival (OS). Currently, the 1-year OS rate with these agents is approximately 40%, which is unreached with other treatments.

These agents influence OS in a very significant way, while progression-free survival and response rate are not good markers of benefit, he adds.
 



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