https://www.onclive.com/onclive-tv/dr-gold-on-defining-head-and-neck-squamous-cell-carcinoma
Dr. Gold on Defining Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Kathryn A. Gold, MD



Kathryn A. Gold, MD, medical oncologist, associate professor of medicine, UC San Diego Heath, differentiates carcinogen-induced and virally associated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

HNSCC are 2 entirely different diseases, says Gold. HPV-negative squamous cell carcinoma is very different than HPV-positive squamous cell carcinoma, both biologically and clinically. These cancers need to be treated at 2 separated diseases, Gold says, and should not be grouped together solely because they occur in the same area of the body.

In HPV-negative disease, therapy must be intensified to get better outcomes, Gold says. For example, targeting CDK4/6 and other pathways that are possibly involved in cell cycle regulation in the recurrent and metastatic setting has been shown to improve results.

In HPV-positive disease, Gold says that focus needs to be put de-intensifying therapy, which could spare patients from unnecessary toxicities. Immunotherapy may be more important for HPV-positive disease, Gold explains, as there is an opportunity to target pathways such as PI3K. Therapeutic vaccines are another avenue of study in this group.
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