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Novel Regimen May Eliminate Need for Radiation in Some Oropharyngeal Cancers

Angelica Welch
Published: Friday, Aug 11, 2017

Robert Siegel, MD

Robert Siegel, MD
The standard of care for oropharyngeal cancer is chemotherapy plus radiation, or surgery with adjuvant radiation. While effective, this level of radiation is often detrimental to a patient’s quality of life, says Robert Siegel, MD.

during ASCO, Siegel, lead study author and chair, professor of medicine, director, Division of Hematology/Oncology, George Washington University, discussed the 13-month follow-up of the combination of induction chemotherapy and transoral surgery in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

OncLive: Can you provide some background information on the treatment of this disease?

Siegel: The standard of care for treating patients with oropharyngeal cancer—cancers of the base of the tongue, tonsil, other parts of the oropharynx—is a combination of weekly low-dose chemotherapy, usually cisplatin, and radiation. Most patients are cured, even with locally advanced disease, but the consequences of all of that radiation has long-term implications. Short-term, people have a difficult time eating, to the point where they often need a temporary feeding tube while they are getting radiation. And long-term, the radiation dries out your salivary glands, which means your mouth is dry and your sense of taste is forever altered in a negative way. [Radiation] has all types of implications for dental health, as well such as gum disease, and even sometimes the jawbone will begin to die.
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Medical Crossfire®: How Can We Optimize Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancers with Immunotherapeutic Strategies?Oct 31, 20191.5
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