Dr. Sacco on Ongoing Trials for Chemoradiation in Head and Neck Cancer

Assuntina G. Sacco, MD

Assuntina G. Sacco, MD, assistant professor of medicine, medical oncologist, UC San Diego Health, discusses ongoing trials investigating chemoradiation for patients with head and neck cancer.

For patients with locally advanced disease who are going to receive chemoradiation, there are 2 ongoing trials. One trial is involving the addition of immunotherapy, specifically pembrolizumab (Keytruda), as both a lead-in phase given concurrently throughout chemotherapy and radiation, and then as an adjuvant treatment. That study was designed by Sanford Health; Dr Kathryn A. Gold is the principle investigator at UC San Diego Health, says Sacco.

The second trial is a Pfizer-sponsored trial called JAVELIN. This is for patients with high-risk head and neck cancer, and involves high-dose cisplatin with radiation. They may also receive placebo or a PD-L1 inhibitor, specifically avelumab (Bavencio), which is given as a lead in, concurrent throughout chemoradiation, and then in the maintenance phase, which is up to 1 year, explains Sacco.
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