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Expert Discusses Evolving Treatment Options in Head and Neck Cancer

Danielle Bucco
Published: Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017

Jared Weiss, MD

Jared Weiss, MD

The development of new agents for patients with head and neck cancer continues to evolve, particularly for immunotherapy regimens, according to Jared Weiss, MD.

Weiss, assistant professor, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer center, discussed the evolving role of immunotherapy and other promising developments in head and neck cancer.

OncLive: What is the current role of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer?

At the current time, the role of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer is restricted to recurrent metastatic head and neck cancer. We’re mostly talking about patients who have been treated for cure—sometimes with multiple attempts at cure—who are no longer curable. This is either as a consequence of metastatic disease, meaning a cancer that spread outside of the local regional area, or cancer that has recurred enough times that the patient is out of surgical and radiation options. 

These studies are very important because the average patient with head and neck cancer is not incurable in contrast to many other cancers. The average head and neck cancer is local or locoregionally advanced and being treated for cure, so there is real hope that these agents can improve the cure rates in those contexts. 

What combinations are being investigated in immunotherapy?

Multiple combinations are being [explored] for immunotherapy in head and neck cancer. We know that we have approval of PD-1 agents and we will soon have PD-L1 agents in the recurrent metastatic setting. We are going to have data within months for the combinations with CTLA-4, such as ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab or durvalumab (Imfinzi) and tremelimumab.
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Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Medical Crossfire®: How Can We Optimize Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancers with Immunotherapeutic Strategies?Oct 31, 20191.5
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