Dr. Vokes on the Treatment Landscape of Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer

Everett Vokes, MD
Published: Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016



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 treatment landscape of recurrent head and neck cancer.

The EXTREME regimen, which consists of cetuximab (Erbitux) and a doublet of platinum-based therapy and 5-fluorouracil, is commonly used in this setting, and has shown median survival ranges of approximately 10 months. According to Vokes, many physicians are substituting this triple-drug treatment with a carboplatin-based regimen or with a taxane because of toxicity differences.

However, Vokes characterizes this regimen as “unsatisfying,” which theoretically opens the door for checkpoint inhibitors, a class of drugs that appear to be much more promising for this patient population. The FDA approvals of the PD-L1 inhibitors nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) are expected to help move this treatment landscape forward.


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 treatment landscape of recurrent head and neck cancer.

The EXTREME regimen, which consists of cetuximab (Erbitux) and a doublet of platinum-based therapy and 5-fluorouracil, is commonly used in this setting, and has shown median survival ranges of approximately 10 months. According to Vokes, many physicians are substituting this triple-drug treatment with a carboplatin-based regimen or with a taxane because of toxicity differences.

However, Vokes characterizes this regimen as “unsatisfying,” which theoretically opens the door for checkpoint inhibitors, a class of drugs that appear to be much more promising for this patient population. The FDA approvals of the PD-L1 inhibitors nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) are expected to help move this treatment landscape forward.

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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