Joshua Bauml, MD
Immunotherapy in head and neck cancer continues to evolve and advance patient care. Challenges remain in the field, however, such as how to better target patients with HPV-associated disease, says Joshua Bauml, MD.
, Joshua Bauml, MD, assistant professor of Hematology/Oncology and co-deputy director for the Lung/Head and Neck Medical Oncology Clinical Research Program, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, discussed the current role of immunotherapy in this disease, potential next steps, and unmet needs in HPV-associated head and neck cancer.
OncLive: What is the current role of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer?
Immunotherapy has a key role to play to in the management of head and neck cancer. Patients who have metastatic head and neck cancer currently have very limited options, so the arrival of PD-1 inhibitors has been a huge boon for patients. Specifically, head and neck cancers have overregulation of PD-L1 and PD-L2, which are known to be biomarkers of response to PD-1 inhibition. In addition to that, much of head and neck cancer is virally mediated. Virally mediated tumors tend to have a relatively high mutational burden, which also tends to lead to response to immunotherapy. So, it is complete logical to utilize immunotherapy in the management of head and neck cancer.
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